Headlines: March 13th, 2003

Partnership working between local councils and Primary Care and NHS Trusts has been boosted with the creation of the Integrated Care Network. Health Minister Jacqui Smith said: “The Integrated Care Network is key to developing more local partnerships, which will ensure that the people who rely on care from both health and social services get a better deal. The partnerships will focus on many groups including children, older people and the disabled, who will have experienced problems in receiving joined up services in the past.”The Integrated Care Network will support all those who are trying to mesh together local social services and health. The new partnership will also help local councils and the NHS to use their resources more effectively and will mean less duplication and fragmentation of services. This will result in a much better standard of care and support for the people who rely on those services.

The newly created Care Trusts, focusing on older people and people with mental health problems are getting to grips with their tasks. The Department of Health will be inviting proposals from local authorities interested in setting up Children’s Trusts from December.

In addition to setting up of Care Trusts, the Department of Health have also set up the Health and Social Care Change Agent team, who have been working with councils to help them work more effectively with the Health Service to tackle the problem of delayed discharges. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister already has an integrated working support programme for local government. By working with them the Department of Health will have more opportunities to work with housing and education.