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STPs should be used to improve integrated care for elderly people – CQC

Greater progress needs to be made on improving services for elderly people through integrating health and social care, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said.

‘Building bridges, breaking barriers: integrated care for older people’, a CQC review of health and social care in eight areas (Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Camden, Central Bedfordshire, Hammersmith and Fulham, Portsmouth, Stockton-on-Tees and Wakefield) found that there was enthusiasm to deliver integrated care, and initiatives to co-ordinate different care services were already underway.

However, it said that there were some examples of poor integration of care due to problems with leadership, information sharing and standardised assessment tools.

David Behan, chief executive of the CQC, said: “Older people who use health and care services tell us that they want their services to be joined up and work together.

“This study found examples of effective integrated care but these small steps need to become significant strides to move joined-up services into the mainstream. Everyone deserves seamless quality care, regardless of how many services are involved in delivering it and regardless of how complex your needs are.

“Local leaders should build on the opportunities offered by initiatives such as the new care models vanguard programme to deliver joined up care.”

The CQC said that health and social care leaders should use initiatives such as the Vanguards and the sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) to develop a shared understanding of what integrated care means, which all health, social care and voluntary organisations can sign up to.

Speaking recently at the Health+Care Conference, Stephen Dorrell, the chair of the NHS Confederation, said that STPs should be used to deliver “a new vision” of integrated care and include full local authority involvement.

The regulator’s review added that commissioners and providers should also provide better information to elderly people and their families and meaningfully involve them in their care.

In addition, it recommended that NHS England and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) should develop an agreed methodology at a local and national level for identifying people who are at risk of deterioration or admission to secondary care.

ADASS annual survey of social care directors, published today, found that the council tax precept for social care is failing to meet the funding shortfall facing the sector.

The LGA is campaigning for the government to bring forward £700m from the Better Care Fund from the end of the decade in order to support social care.

In response to the CQC report, an LGA spokesperson repeated the call for Better Care Fund funding, saying: “Councils, care providers, charities and the NHS are all united around the need for central Government to fully fund adult social care as this is vital to ensure our loved ones enjoy the dignified and independent quality of life they deserve.”

The report also raised concerns about how the effectiveness of new integrated care initiatives was going to be assessed, saying that new initiatives are only assessed at a small-scale and local level and the methods used were varied.

It argued that the National Quality Board and the National Information Board should develop standardised measurements for assessing the quality of integrated care.

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