Headlines: January 30th, 2002

Health care delivered through the health service and other types of care delivered by some 150 local councils are continuing to merge at the point of delivery. Older people who need help with some of the activities of daily living, or who live in residential or nursing homes are among the 1.5 million people in England who receive help from social services. They will benefit from a new ‘single assessment’ process that will allow different professionals to share information across organizational boundaries. This will remove the need for them to repeat their personal details and needs when they enter nursing care. The ‘single assessment’ arrangements will be introduced over the next two years.Closer working between health and social services is also be fostered by the proposal to strengthen the powers of councils to scrutinize health services bodies within their areas. A number of councils are already undertaking health scrutiny, which involves working across local government and other boundaries such as a hospital or other NHS care provider. The new powers are unlikely to come into effect until April 2003.