William Eichler 22 August 2016

Councils ‘willing and able’ to provide leadership in health and care integration

Councils ‘willing and able’ to provide leadership in health and care integration  image

Council chiefs across the South East have written to the health secretary urging the Government to recognise local authorities as equal partners with the NHS in health and care integration.

The local government leaders wrote to Jeremy Hunt MP to say they are ‘ready, willing and able’ to provide the leadership and vision required to work with the NHS to deliver health and social care integration.

Every health and care system in England—including local authorities--must produce a multi-year Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) showing how local services will evolve and become sustainable over a five year period.

These STPs receive input from a number of different sources, including NHS England, NHS Improvement, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Health Education England (HEE), Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

‘It’s clear the current approach to health and social care is unaffordable in the long-term,’ said Cllr Roy Perry, South East England Councils (SEEC) deputy chairman.

‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) could offer a way forward, but are mainly NHS led and remain largely focused on ‘cure’.

‘We feel opportunities are being missed to create partnerships that also draw on councils’ skills in delivering efficient, locally-tailored services that meet people’s needs and focus on prevention.’

The letter stressed the crucial role councils play in prevention by delivering services outside of hospitals. It also emphasised the significant role housing plays in preventing ill-health and reducing hospital admissions, and called on ministers to make an exemption to the benefit cap for those who require specialist housing.

South East councils are asking Mr Hunt to support an 8-point plan to overcome common barriers to health and care integration. These include co-chairing of STPs, an agreed definition of integration and measurable goals for all partners.

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