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Adult Social Care and Health Dinner

1 June 2016

“Integrated Care - is it enough?”

At a recent dinner hosted by our guest speaker Tony Hunter, the Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE), we brought together Directors of Adult and Children’s Social Care, Commissioning and Public Health from across the country to discuss the latest issues around integrated care.

Whilst this is a broad, challenging and sometimes contentious topic, discussion focused around surmounting the challenges faced by regional public services. Sustaining, developing and enhancing services to some of the most vulnerable in our communities at a time of continuing austerity and broader societal change is increasingly driving approaches and solutions forged at a local level. The absence of a centrally-imposed or suggested template for service provision has been generally well-received and has catalysed greater innovation, creativity and self-determination. Inevitably, the virtues and benefits of taking a whole-systems approach were much lauded but it was recognised that this is easier said than done! Relationships, inter-organisational cooperation and an understanding of the local environment and demographics all play their part.

Our guests also discussed the need for increased personalisation of NHS services to enhance the customer experience and the complexity of our current processes and systems brought about the word of the evening - “complexification”. Co-production and co-delivery rather than overlap and duplication were considered as the most effective means of ensuring appropriate services. The need seems to be greater than ever for one complete, joined-up service and the gap between the health and social care systems needs to be addressed in order to achieve better outcomes for people which led the group to discuss whether integrated commissioning is the answer.

Despite the lack of resources, we’ve seen some excellent work from leaders in the field who have bred innovation through austerity. Partners have an increasing role to play as part of the solution and there is a growing recognition that the statutory bodies are not always in the lead. Leadership across the whole system and the importance of developing a workforce able and willing to drive performance and delivery were deemed to be key activities. Talent is at a premium and there was much debate over “Make or Buy”; retention is every bit as important as recruitment and with the blurring of traditional sector boundaries the opportunity to look more broadly is increasingly required. During these periods of change and transformation, and more councils following a digital strategy, the group as a whole expected to see a demand for interims across the sector with Project and Programme Managers and Interim Commissioners across Health and Care being the most sought after.

So, another stimulating and thought-provoking evening. We are grateful to Tony for being so generous with his time and to our guest for their candid and constructive contributions to a debate that is far from over.

Lenny Michael, Consultant in the Local Government practice

Categories: Local Government


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