Report calls for integrated health and care department

A new report has called on the government to set up a health and social care department to support greater integration.

The ‘Breaking Barriers – Building a Sustainable Future for Health and Social Care’ report focuses on breaking down barriers between departments and developing a new model for integration and innovation.

The report, which was led by former local government secretary Hazel Blears, former chair of the Mental Health Act Commission Lord Patel and mental health practitioner and researcher Dr Jonathan Bashford, advises that a new Department for Communities and Wellbeing should be set up by the government to help facilitate greater integration between relevant parties, including local government and the NHS.

It suggests that the new department should manage an integrated health and social care budget, which it believes would be a practical solution to bridge funding gaps and help to support public sector reform.

Lord Patel said: “Extreme financial pressures are being brought to bear on health and social care funding for the NHS and local government – amid ever-increasing demographic demand and the pressing strictures of the NHS Five Year Forward View.

“To have hope of surmounting the challenge, we need new ways of delivering public services that are collaborative, integrated and innovative and which offer realistic, practical and replicable solutions.

“The Breaking Barriers report shows how alternative delivery models that are place-based and designed with the people who use and deliver local health and care services can make a real difference and improve lives while ensuring the long term sustainability of these vital services.”