Hospitals and integrated care are often seen as awkward partners. The argument follows that integrated care, with its emphasis on strengthening and joining up care outside of hospitals, stands in contrast to the interests of acute hospitals and the incentives that they are faced with. The conclusion is that integrated care and hospitals don’t easily mix.
The growing number of acute hospitals in England actively involved in developing more integrated models of care offers a welcome challenge to this way of thinking. Our recent report, Acute hospitals and integrated care: from hospitals to health systems, describes the experiences of five hospitals like these in different parts of the country that are changing the way that they work to deliver services in more integrated ways.