Report on the interface between health and adult social care finds that, although integration and joint working is the way forward for healthcare, an effective strategy is lacking
A House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts report – Interface between health and adult social care – has found that although there is an increased need for joined-up working across health and social care, there are long-standing legal, structural and cultural barriers hindering the pace and scale at which change can happen.
The report says that, although there has been much research on the subject – 12 white papers, green papers and consultations, and five independent reviews and consultations – the government still lacks an effective overall strategy or plan to achieve its long-held aim to integrate these two sectors.
The need for a joined-up approach to working is being fuelled, the report says, by financial pressures and an ageing population.
‘With local authorities reducing real terms spending on adult social care by 5.3% between 2010–11 and 2016–17, while the number of people in England aged 85 and over rose by 28% between 2006 and 2016. There are examples across England where integrated working has been successfully applied. But it is a long way from being in place everywhere…’
The report further says the intention is there but the realisation is distant.
‘The renaming of a government department is a sign of intent but with local authorities squeezed (as the Committee made clear in our report on the financial sustainability of local authorities) there is no realistic prospect of progress.