Call to speed up NHS health and social care integration

The Independent Care Group is calling on the Government to speed up actions to bring NHS healthcare and social care services closer together.

Responding to the Hewitt Review and the Health and Social Care Select Committee (HSCC) Inquiry into the workings of the new Integrated Care Systems (ICS), the Government has pledged its support.

And it has promised to give the ICS more autonomy, to reduce administrative burdens and to streamline their operation.

The ICG has welcomed the Government’s support of the ICS but urged it to move more quickly on bringing NHS and social care together.

It is also disappointed that the Government has rejected a recommendation from the Hewitt Review to increase the proportion of resources spent on preventative healthcare by at least 1% over the next five years.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “The rationale behind the creation of the Integrated Care Systems is an excellent one in that we need to be bringing all bodies involved in the provision of health and social care together, for the benefit of the communities we serve.

“Above all, we need to bring NHS healthcare and social care closer – ultimately to a unified National Care Service – to provide seamless care for older and vulnerable adults.

“Whilst the Government’s ongoing support and actions to progress the ICS is welcome, to us progress towards that integration seems very slow and to be mired in bureaucracy.

“The Government’s decision to reject the Hewitt Review’s recommended increase in resources on preventative healthcare is also disappointing and at odds with the Government’s proclaimed desire to improve preventative healthcare, which we are all agreed, helps relieve the burden on over-stretched NHS resources.

“We would like to see the process towards true integration speeded up and the Government to make good on its promises to invest better in prevention and in tackling the underfunding of social care, upon which a lot of the successful future outcomes for the ICS will ultimately rely.”