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Evidence and consultations

Integrated care for patients and populations: Improving outcomes by working together

A report to the Department of Health and the NHS Future Forum


Integrated care is essential to meet the needs of the ageing population, transform the way that care is provided for people with long-term conditions and enable people with complex needs to live healthy, fulfilling, independent lives.

In its June 2011 summary report, the NHS Future Forum stated: 'we need to move beyond arguing for integration to making it happen'.

The NHS Future Forum's report built on the ideas that The King's Fund and the Nuffield Trust presented as part of the government's listening exercise on the Health and Social Care Bill.

In response, the Department of Health approached The King's Fund and Nuffield Trust for help in supporting the development of its national strategy on integrated care and to feed ideas directly into the ongoing work of the NHS Future Forum.

Our resulting report examines:

  • the case for integrated care

  • what current barriers to integrated care need to be overcome and how

  • what the Department of Health can do to provide a supporting framework to enable integrated care to flourish

  • options for practical and technical support to those implementing integrated care, including approaches to evaluating its impact.

The report asserts that developing integrated care should assume the same priority over the next decade as reducing waiting times had during the last.

Its core recommendations are:

  • government policy should be founded on a clear, ambitious and measurable goal to improve the experience of patients and service users and to be delivered by a defined date

  • patients with complex needs should be guaranteed an entitlement to an agreed care plan, a named case manager responsible for co-ordinating care, and access to telehealth and telecare and a personal health budget where appropriate

  • change must be implemented at scale and pace; this will require work across large populations, significant reform and flexibility to take forward different approaches.

The report makes a constructive contribution to the debate about integrated care and will be of interest to policy-makers, health and social care commissioners, and researchers with an interest in integrated care, as well as to health and social care organisations.