Chapter 8

How to meet the goals of the integration white paper

The jury is out on whether the government’s proposed integration of health and social care will be a success. The premise is sound: supporting people to be as independent as they can be by using a holistic view to provide personalised pre- emptive support. But in a survey of senior local government figures just 24% said the reforms would be good for their residents. Why?

The survey revealed many issues ranging from a shortage of funding to a lack of in-house skills. But the starkest hurdle was the technological and cultural ‘how’; 74% of
responders believe it will be difficult to integrate with health. “NHS and council governance are different and however much people try to work together they cannot be made into a single governance structure,” one respondent wrote.

The government’s proposals for health and care integration have left many councils wondering whether it is right for their citizens. On one hand you have the nationally funded and acute care focused NHS, and on the other locally prioritised, preventative oriented councils. The question is whether they can work in harmony for the benefit of each citizen and not at the expense of local initiatives and engagement.

Integrating decades old systems laden with technical debt across organisations servicing different needs is the challenge. And yet with the right support and technology strategy, it’s happening. We have seen it with the NHS 365 initiative that connected 1.2 million staff and made collaboration easy. And we have seen it with the council that combined 1.7 million citizen records with those of GPs to create a single view of primary and secondary health care.

“Joining up services, and data, is key to managing our most pressing issues around  supporting people to live healthier, happier lives"

Helena Zaum Social care lead at Microsoft UK.

Delivering on the integration bill won’t be easy. Yet it is possible. And we’re seeing those councils embracing technology to bring partners together already reaping the benefits.

The pandemic has proven that, against all odds, anything is possible if it means helping people remain independent.

But to meet the white paper’s ambition of providing personalised care, reducing unnecessary interventions and improving service efficiency, citizen data must flow seamlessly between health and social care. In particular between local government and primary care. And for this you need inclusive data management practices and connected systems.

To that end HSO, together with Microsoft, is working with local government and health care organisations to develop the connected digital platforms and applications to deliver place-based insight into the hands of organisations using it to improve citizen services.

“Joining up services, and data, is key to managing our most pressing issues around  supporting people to live healthier, happier lives. Microsoft is committed to providing the tools needed to meet the goals of the white paper,” says Helena Zaum, social care lead at Microsoft UK.

- Andy Venter, Head of public sector, HSO

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