Social care must be treated as an equal partner of the NHS if integration is to succeed, a report has found.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC)'s review of 20 local authority areas found ‘too much ineffective co-ordination’ and blamed ‘funding, commissioning, performance management and regulation’ for services focusing on performance rather than positive outcomes for individuals.
It called for national health and social care care leaders to be treated as ‘equal partners’ and enabled to pool their resources and use budgets more flexibly.
The report also argued for legislation to allow the CQC to hold NHS and social care providers to account for ‘how people and organisations work together’.
CQC chief executive, Sir David Behan, said health and care workers’ efforts were 'often despite the conditions in place to facilitate joint working rather than because of them’.
He added: ‘Our findings show the urgent necessity for real change.
'A system designed in 1948 can no longer effectively meet the complex needs of increasing numbers of older people in 2018.’
Chairman of the Local Government Association's (LGA), community wellbeing board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said: ‘Integration alone cannot solve the financial challenges facing health and social care.
'It’s right to incentivise long-term investment in services and prevention and effective commissioning has an important part to play in this, but sector-led approaches have been shown to drive significant improvement and are more cost-effective than inspection.’
President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Glen Garrod, added: ‘There is a clear need for urgent change but the best approach is one led by the sector itself.
‘We need an approach that breaks down barriers to collaboration - not builds them back up.’
Care minister Caroline Dinenage said: ‘This report confirms what we already know – the provision of NHS services and social care are two sides of the same coin and it is not possible to have a plan for the NHS without having a plan for social care.
'That’s why we will publish a Green Paper in the autumn on social care around the same time as the Government’s long-term plan for the NHS.’