Think tanks work together to support integrated care for patients

A new project led by The King's Fund and the Nuffield Trust was announced today at a conference with NHS commissioners addressed by Paul Burstow MP, the Minister of State for Care Services.

The two think tanks have been asked by the Department of Health to support the development of a national strategy for the promotion of integrated care at scale and pace in local communities. This follows the NHS Future Forum's recommendation that 'we need to move beyond arguing for integration … to making it happen'. Amendments to support integration of health and social care services have since been among the central changes made to the Health and Social Care Bill.

The findings will be submitted to the Department of Health and the NHS Future Forum, which is looking into how to achieve better integration of services as part of NHS modernisation. The joint project will:

  • identify ways to overcome barriers to integrated care, which can include current NHS policy and management rules and practices
  • support the development of integrated care at a large scale and at pace
  • test ideas with health and social care professionals at the front line
  • analyse the published evidence about what works in delivering integrated care, including the policy and management characteristics of successful examples.

Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King's Fund, said:

'We have been investigating the potential of integrated care for some time. We're delighted to be working with the Nuffield Trust to identify innovative ways to make this happen. More collaboration and co-ordination across health and social care services is desperately needed to respond to the increasing numbers of people with long-term conditions and to demographic changes in society.'

Dr Jennifer Dixon, Director of the Nuffield Trust said:

'Integrated care has two main objectives: a good experience for patients; and achieving high-quality care at least cost. This project seeks to gather as much intelligence as possible from those trying to achieve integrated care on what barriers are in the way. The emphasis is on how barriers can be cleared to allow greater innovation locally, definitely not to craft a blueprint for national rollout. We are also trying to identify cheap but rigorous ways of evaluating the impact of innovations, which can provide near real-time feedback to innovators.'

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:

'We heard through our listening exercise that there is a need to give even greater emphasis and priority to this. Our modernisation plans are designed to support greater integration of health and care services.

'We have therefore asked the NHS Future Forum to consider in more detail how we can ensure that our reforms lead to better integrated services.

'I am pleased that The King's Fund, alongside the Nuffield Trust, will be working so closely with the Future Forum on integration. This joint work will make an important contribution to developing integrated care across the health and social care sectors.

For more on this project: Making integrated care a reality

Notes to editors: 

  • For more information or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs office at The King's Fund on 020 7307 2585 (if you are calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035). To contact the Nuffield Trust, please call 020 7462 0555 or 07920 043 709.
  • A slide pack of evidence about integrated care including case studies is available on The King's Fund and Nuffield Trust websites.
  • The Department of Health approached the two institutions to initiate this project following the Future Forum's recommendation that 'we need to move beyond arguing for integration … to making it happen', (p.20, NHS Future Forum Summary report on proposed changes to the NHS 'Integration and collaboration').