Our response to the Department of Health's announcement of 14 integrated care pioneer areas

Responding to Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb’s announcement of the names of 14 pioneer areas for integrated care, Chris Ham, Chief Executive, The King’s Fund, said: ‘Delivering integrated care at scale and pace is a major challenge for the modern NHS. To meet the needs of an ageing population and of the growing number of people with long-term conditions, joined-up care and support must become central to the work of health and social care services. We welcome today’s announcement of 14 pioneer areas, which shows that the momentum for change and experimentation is gathering.

‘There is no single best way to achieve more joined-up care. I hope the pioneer programme will allow communities to innovate and build on different approaches taken by local leaders. The King’s Fund has already worked with teams from many of these sites in recent years, and we know that they have a keen appetite to tackle critical issues that have in the past been a barrier to integrated care.

‘Today’s announcement is an opportunity for the selected communities to further push forward the great work they are doing. The government must play its part to support the pioneers by removing policy barriers that may make it difficult to achieve closer integration of care. These barriers include how care is paid for and regulated and the challenges created by commissioning being fragmented between CCGs, NHS England and local authorities.’

Notes to editors: 

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and health care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible care is available to all.

The Fund published a report in April 2013, Making integrated care happen at scale and pace: Lessons from experience, to support the process of converting policy intentions into meaningful and widespread change on the ground. The authors summarised 16 steps that need to be taken to make integrated care a reality, provided examples of good practice and acknowledged that changes would be needed to national policy and to the regulatory and financial frameworks for local leaders to fully realise a vision of integration.

The Fund also runs a series of integrated care learning networks, which aim to support communities of NHS, social care, and voluntary sector organisations. More information about these can be found on our integrated care perspectives page.

For further information, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2632 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146 035).