Headlines: February 3rd, 2010

A new tool has been launched to enable local health and social care services to become part of the growing integrated care initiative. The Health Minister, Mike O’Brien, and Care Services Minister, Phil Hope, said personalised, seamless services for local people were at the heart of a new nationwide community driving up the quality of care, sharing knowledge and shaping policy.

Integrated Care pilots began with 16 sites in April last year. They were asked to look beyond traditional health and social care boundaries to explore more flexible and better joined up services. The new self assessment tool is designed to expand the community by helping more sites to set up projects across a range of sectors, including children’s services, education, criminal justice and housing.

The new services will become part of a network to prompt debate and challenge policy makers. They will also share knowledge and best practice with the existing integrated care pilot sites. The pilot scheme will end in March next year when the national programme will capture knowledge and learning from all the participating sites and use it to shape the delivery of health and social care.

Mike O’Brien said: “We know that, for example, patients overcoming substance misuse can frequently have housing problems or social care needs as well as health ones. By expanding the integrated care community we can help provide people with the properly co-ordinated streamlined support they need to help manage their condition or situation effectively.”