Today we launch an animation that aims to do just that. To adapt a well-worn phrase, we hope the animation is worth a thousand words in bringing to life the meaning and importance of integrated care in a way that endless definitions can never do.
Our animation is being launched shortly before Norman Lamb MP announces the areas of the country selected to participate in the first tranche of the government's integrated care pioneer programme. The Minister's announcement will be an important staging post in the journey towards integrated care that began with the Fund's contribution to the government's listening exercise in 2011. To revert to another well-worn phrase, this journey is a marathon and not a sprint, and much remains to be done to convert aspirations into practice.
Our view at the Fund is that priority now needs to be given to putting in place policies to support integrated care, and offering practical help to enable providers and commissioners to take integrated care forward at scale and pace. Policy developments must encompass changes to financial flows to remove perverse incentives such as Payment by Results and ensuring that market regulation does not inhibit collaboration between providers. These developments are essential in creating the right environment for the integrated care pioneers and to support the emergence of more joined-up services for vulnerable older people.
Practical help should involve providing local leaders with the skills needed to put in place new models of care, learning from international best practice. A great example is the story of the Canterbury District Health Board in New Zealand as set out in a paper we published recently. Canterbury has made progress towards integrated care over several years by investing in its staff and supporting them to bring about improvements in care. Its experience is an example of achieving change 'from within' instead of relying on external factors like top-down targets or competitive pressures.
Canterbury's story is just one of more than 20 UK and international case studies brought together on our new integrated care map, which illustrates how innovators in the NHS, local authorities and the third sector are making real progress in overcoming fragmentation of care and strengthening care co-ordination. These examples show that integration is gaining traction as providers and commissioners seek to find local solutions for people with complex needs.
The essential ingredient in making integrated care a reality more widely is leadership at all levels − from frontline teams through to NHS boards and in national bodies such as NHS England, Monitor and the Care Quality Commission. The Fund is making its contribution to leadership development in a new programme on collaborative leadership designed to support leaders in the NHS and local government to work with their peers in local systems of care. We shall shortly be announcing plans to work in depth with four communities over three years starting in 2014 and will be inviting expressions of interest. Watch this space.