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Health and social care services to merge

Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered health and social care services to be merged in order to benefit patients and improve care.

According to a report in The Guardian Newspaper, at the moment health and social care – the help given mainly to old or disabled patients to help them continue to live at home rather than in hospital or nursing homes – are different systems in England. NHS medical treatment and domiciliary support, which is provided mainly by local councils, are usually not joined-up.


Andrew Lansley has been instructed to ensure that changes are made, to ensure that care is improved at the same time as saving the NHS money.


The aim is to deliver more care in the community by streamlining the care patients receive. Medical and social care providers will work closely together to reduce the number of departments and organisations they currently have to deal with.


Paul Burstow, Care Services Minister, said: “Integrated care should be the norm. That's why we asked the NHS Future Forum to specifically work on the issue. Our ambition for the NHS and social care is a simple one – to achieve better results for people and carers. So our priority is to orientate the whole system around patients, service users and carers through our Outcomes Framework.”


The pro-integration NHS Confederation warned that some hospitals would close as a result of the changes.


[quote top=Jo Webber, deputy policy director at the confederation, said:] Integrating care will improve services, particularly for people who are frail and those with long term conditions. But it will also involve making some really difficult decisions as hospital activity is reduced and moved into the community.[/quote]


The move comes after numerous warnings from senior doctors and advisors, that the NHS could become unsustainable without integration due to a rise in the number of patients suffering from long term health conditions.