SCIE press release

Health and social care integration - the ultimate challenge?

14 May 2013

New national initiative seeks to tackle the 'ultimate challenge' of integrating care

People do not think of themselves as needing health or social care services. What they require is a coordinated, seamless system of care and support that recognises their individual needs and aspirations.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), together with other leading national health and social care agencies has today pledged their commitment to supporting better integration at national and local level.

SCIE is delighted to play a part in this new national partnership. We know how important person-centred, co-ordinated care is for people using services, their families and carers - but we also know how difficult it can be to put into practice. In many ways it is the ultimate challenge for care and health services.

SCIE can help by sharing knowledge and supporting integration through our practical guides, training materials and consultancy services. We will work with our partners to build on our existing areas of expertise including understanding the factors that can help or hinder integrated working; developing and delivering effective multi-agency safeguarding and integrated end of life care; and sharing examples of good practice.

SCIE Chief Executive, Andrea Sutcliffe, speaking about the launch of Integrated care and support: our shared commitment.

Case study

Mr Clark is 67 years old, lives alone at home, and has multiple health conditions including heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease, gout and atrial fibrillation. He also struggles with obesity, sleep apnoea, limited mobility and isolation. He has had frequent hospital admissions to try and stabilise his health, and had reached the stage where he needing an admission every 6-8 weeks, often for around 10 days.

He was then referred to the community ward, a multi-disciplinary team comprising a GP, social worker, advanced nurse practitioner, pharmacist and community matron. The team works together to provide health and social care to people living at home, ensuring rapid access to whichever type of support is needed and sharing information and expertise effectively. They also make extensive use of telehealth to monitor a number of vital signs, and can quickly see when the individual's health is deteriorating.

For both Mr Clark and the health and social care system, the outcomes of receiving support from this integrated team are huge - his weight has reduced, his medical conditions have stabilised, he is accessing community services, he is less isolated, and he has not been admitted to hospital.

Mr Clark appears in the Social Care TV film Avoiding unnecessary hospital admission

Notes to editors

Integrated Care and Support: our shared commitment

As national partners, we have co-produced Integrated Care and Support: our shared commitment - a framework document on integration.

The document, signed by all the partners, sets out how local areas can use existing structures such as Health and Wellbeing Boards to bring together local authorities, the NHS, care and support providers, education, housing services, public health and others to make further steps towards integration.

Ministerial support

SCIE agrees with Care Services Minister Norman Lamb. Speaking at the initiative's launch this morning, he says that good practice and its application should be shared across pioneer practice sites, and the sector, as soon as possible. SCIE thinks that the "Cinderella services" such as mental health and End of Life Care must not be forgotten; the Minister is clear that services like mental health must be part of the big picture. He says that it is too easy to "go down a well-lit road, only to fall down a precipice"

Narrative on integration

National Voices, a national coalition of health and care charities, has developed a person-centred 'narrative' on integration. This is an agreed definition of what we mean by 'integrated' care. It provides a guide to the sort of things that integrated care will achieve, such as better planning, more personal involvement of the person using services, and free access to good information. It also provides some clarity over what local areas should be aiming to achieve practically, in their efforts to integrate services.

It is written not just for the experts, but for patients, people, families and carers. It shows them what they have a right to expect, so they can then demand the most helpful care and support.

As a national partner we have adopted this definition of what good integrated care and support looks and feels like for people, and we are asking local areas to sign up to using it too.

SCIE welcomes the alignment of the narrative with the Making It Real "I" statements that have already been adopted by almost 500 health and social care organisations focusing on making person-centred care a reality.

The Pioneers programme

Together the national partners are asking local areas to express an interest in becoming 'pioneers' to act as exemplars, demonstrating the use of ambitious and innovative approaches to efficiently deliver integrated care.

We are looking for pioneers that will work across the whole of their local health, public health and care and support systems, and alongside other local authority departments as necessary, to achieve and demonstrate the scale of change that is required.

The national partners will provide tailored support to pioneers. In return, we expect them to be at the forefront of sharing and promoting what they've learned for wider adoption across the country.


Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: