24th March 2016 Written by Anne Clarke, Skills for Health’s Regional Director for Southern England

Image: Anne Clarke.Last month Skills for Health, Skills for Care and Health Education England Thames Valley hosted a joint participative event to review the importance of ‘integration in action’.

We kicked off the event hearing directly from a service user Douglas Findlay.   Douglas  emphasised that a more integrated approach to care provision is needed in order to avoid people falling ‘through the gaps’ between organisations in the service and to ensure they receive the quality of care they need.

A key theme that emerged from the day is that the care currently being provided is based on strong relationships formed on mutual respect between the care giver and the receiver, as well as between colleagues.

There’s no denying that at the heart of integration is the leadership process, including clinical and community leadership. We need people to talk with each other in order to understand different perspectives and pressures, and ultimately - help to get people out of their silos.

All delegates collaborated on agreeing principles to guide new developments to support a more integrated approach to care delivery.

The principles agreed on, included to: 

  • Take a population approach
  • Identify simple, shared aims – a shared endeavour
  • Aim for a single point of access for patients/service users
  • Strive for real co-production from the start
  • Get a strategy so that you know what you’re facing and what you’re actually going to do about it
  • Work on the basis that people do want to help themselves and become more healthy, and they’re often in a position to do so

It was encouraging to find that the principles identified from this  event mirror the set of six principles produced by the Five Year Forward View People and Communities Board alongside the New Care Models Vanguard sites.

On the basis of these principles, delegates were asked to identify one pledge about something that they personally are going to do, or stop doing, to put any of the principles into practice.

The pledges varied from taking more time to communicate within teams, to never making assumptions, to keeping patients at the heart of everything.

The focus is now on upholding these principles in strategic decision-making processes and discussions and identifying potential integrated workforce development opportunities.

If you would like to know more about how Skills for Health can support your thinking around integrated working, including helping you to plan for the future workforce using tested scenarios and a recognised methodology then please do contact us.