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NAO examines obstacles to joined-up care

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Is funding the greatest obstacle to health and social care integration?

 

Obstacles preventing health and social care from working together have been outlined in a report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

 

NAO boss Amyas Morse says the government should work faster to create a long-term plan for a sustainable, joined-up care sector.

 

The report highlights that the NHS and local authorities work in very different ways leading to problems with sharing data, which can prevent the smooth co-ordination of patients’ care.

 

Lack of funding diverts attention from transforming services and makes long-term planning difficult, says the report.

 

The health and social care needs of the nation have changed since the birth of the NHS in 1948. An ageing population has increased demand for long-term care but the two sectors have remained separated. And despite government intentions to deliver better integration — part of the Five year forward view policy document — progress is still too slow, says the report.

 

Mr Morse said he could not see social care being sustainable with its present level of funding and called for a system based on prevention.

 

He said the NHS and social care will need far higher levels of funding than the recent increase announced by Prime Minister Theresa May as part of the long-term plan financial settlement if the country is to meet future needs.

 

Further information

Guardian: May’s extra cash for NHS is not enough, says spending watchdog

National Audit Office: The health and social care interface