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GPs and Social Workers: Partners for Better Care Delivering health and social care integration together

One of the big questions for the NHS and local authorities is how and whether we can integrate health and social care to better serve people - and save money at the same time.

Our view as the voices of our respective professions is that we can, and must, work together to put GPs and social workers in the driving seat for practical reform and innovation.

Partnership between social workers and general practitioners is critical to the development of personcentred care and in addressing the looming financial crisis facing both the NHS and social care.

However, successful partnerships do not happen by chance. There are differences in funding, professional cultures, training, governance and accountabilities, all of which need to be recognised, understood and worked through to ensure that the right partnerships are in place and do the right things where it matters, in practice.

We must be mindful of escalating workload pressures facing both professional groups, alongside the need to develop person-centred and individualised care.

For GPs, the shift away from the treatment of specific diseases to multi-morbidities is not dissimilar to the challenges faced by social workers in developing personalised care which offers greater choice and control to the people using our services.

GPs and social workers share a common interest in leading and creating system change that will support better outcomes and be economically sustainable. Social workers have a vital role in building the strong, resilient communities that are needed.

This report demonstrates through evidence and case studies how we can work together as local leaders to make integration in local communities a practical reality.