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Efficiency opportunities through health and social care integration: Delivering more sustainable health and care

In 2013, the LGA, as part of the Integrated Care and Support Collaborative commissioned National Voices6 to develop a definition of integrated care:

“My care is planned with people who work together to understand me and my carer(s), put me in control, and to coordinate and deliver services to achieve my best outcomes.”

It is recognised by key partners in health and social care that the current system does not do enough to meet these basic requirements. As well as offering poor user
experience and outcomes, poor integration between health and social care is judged to result in services that are inefficient and offer poor value for money.

Care that is better integrated is a priority for most health and care partners, driven by increasing demand, greater complexity of needs and the drive to develop a more
financially sustainable model for the future. Over the last few years there have been a range of government policies and national initiatives to promote integrated care. The most significant of these have been the Care Act, Integrated Care Pioneers, the Better Care Fund, the Five Year Forward View, devolution and Vanguards. Local areas have made progress in developing integrated models of care, frequently based on pooled budgets, multi-disciplinary teams, integrated commissioning or the development of new organisations providing integrated services.

A number of insights and lessons have emerged from these initiatives, the more recent reports coming from the Department of Health (DH) Integrated Care and Support Pioneers Programme and the LGA’s ‘The Journey to Integration’8. Whilst there is now evidence to show that greater integration and personalisation improves user experience and outcomes, there remains little evidence to demonstrate how financial savings will be delivered.

In order to address this lack of evidence, the LGA has been working with Newton, councils and partners in five areas to undertake a robust assessment of the efficiency opportunities of integration across the health and social care system, to contribute to the developing understanding of what a truly sustainable model for health and care might look like and how this can be achieved.