Integration of health and social care needs financial incentives, experts say

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 03 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3185
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

After years of talk, is integrated care about to become a reality in England? Three politicians from the leading political parties offered a mixed message at a meeting at the healthcare think tank the King’s Fund on 1 May.

As befitted the parties, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat representatives, Sarah Wollaston and Judith Jolly, were cautiously positive that the new Health and Social Care Act might advance the cause. But Norman Warner for Labour, a health minister in the previous government, identified a host of familiar obstacles.

Local activists, who had been given a leading role by the act, would never have reformed the NHS by themselves, said Warner. Direction from the centre was always necessary. And although a few examples of integrated care could be discerned—Torbay, Herefordshire, and Southwark …

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