The National Audit Office (NAO) has warned that Government plans for health and social care integration are at risk of falling short. According to the recent NAO report, which highlights initiatives aiming to transform care and create a financially sustainable care system, the current approach to integration of health and social care has not delivered anticipated benefits for patients, the NHS or local authorities (LAs), and has been slower than expected. The Better Care Fund has not realised projected savings, outcomes for patients or hospital activity. The NAO report concluded the Government’s plan for integrated health and social care services across England by 2020 is at significant risk. It also claimed that NHS England’s ambition to save £900 million through the introduction of seven, as yet unproven, new care models is likely to be over optimistic.

In a series of Q and As over the next few weeks, Deborah Bellamy, Primary Care Business Manager, reviews the NAO report, explores what integration means, why present systems are not really working, why it has been suggested overall governance is poor and looks at the way forward.

The full report and further details may be found at www.nao.org.uk.

What does integration mean?

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