A recent National Audit Office (NAO) report warns that progress towards the integration of health and social care has been slower and less successful than expected. It has not yet delivered the efficiencies and savings that the Department of Health had been hoping to achieve. It has not yet delivered many of the expected benefits for patients, the NHS or local authorities. The Better Care Fund has not particularly achieved better value for money, better outcomes for patients or reductions in hospital activity. The government’s plans for integration of health and social care services across England by 2020 are in question.
As usual, the problems lie in the implementation rather than the theory. The general idea of more integrated care remains worthy and worthwhile, few would disagree.
“So far, benefits have fallen far short of plans, despite much effort. It will be important to learn from the over-optimism of such plans when implementing the much larger NHS sustainability and transformation plans”.
Health and social care integration [Press Release]. London: National Audit Office (NAO), February 8th 2017.
This relates to:
The Comptroller and Auditor General of the National Audit Office: Morse, A. (2017). Health and social care integration. Department of Health, Department for Communities and Local Government and NHS England. National Audit Office Report (HC 1011). Session 2016-17. London: The Stationery Office [Department of Health / Department for Communities and Local Government / NHS England / National Audit Office (NAO)], February 8th 2017.
There is also an Executive Summary.
A related BBC News item:
Pressure on hospital beds ‘not improved by extra money’. London: BBC Health News, February 8th 2017.