Peter Kellner’s story perfectly illustrates the Achilles heel of the NHS. Individual episodes of care may be excellent but too often continuity and coordination are lacking. This results in gaps and delays in treatment, causing patients to suffer anxiety and outcomes of care to be affected.
The King’s Fund has led the argument for care to be more integrated around the needs of patients and this argument has now been accepted by the three main political parties. But what is integrated care? For patients, it means having someone who helps to co-ordinate their care and ensures continuity. In some cases this may be a GP while in others it could be a community nurse or a hospital clinician.