Older people denied effective and personalised care due to poor integration across local systems, according to health watchdog.
A new report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) warns that despite widespread commitment to health and social care integration, ‘substantial progress’ is needed to better support people who use a number of services.
The report—Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers—highlighted the UK’s rapidly ageing population and argued it is older people who would typically benefit from integration because they have the most complex needs and receive care from across multiple locations.
CQC inspectors gathered evidence from a range of sources, including speaking to older people and their carers within eight areas across England to understand their experiences.
They found people with complex needs who use a range of services often say they are satisfied with individual providers, but when they move between different services, they report their care can become fragmented and have an adverse impact on their care experience.
CQC concludes when staff from different services talk to each other and share information effectively, people experience better, safer care.
David Behan, CQC’s chief executive, said: ‘Older people who use health and care services tell us that they want their services to be joined up and work together.
'This study found examples of effective integrated care but these small steps need to become significant strides to move joined-up services into the mainstream.
‘Everyone deserves seamless quality care, regardless of how many services are involved in delivering it and regardless of how complex your needs are.’
‘Local leaders should build on the opportunities offered by initiatives such as the new care models vanguard programme to deliver joined up care,’ he added.
Responding to the report, a Local Government Association spokesperson said: 'There are many examples where local health systems are integrating to the benefit of older people in need of health care and support.
'The NHS Confederation, LGA, NHS Clinical Commissioners and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have developed the first vision for integration based on forming care around the needs of individuals in a society with increasingly chronic and complex health needs.
'This is alongside a practical toolkit of resources that will help local health and care leaders move further and faster on achieving their vision of integration.
'However, to really ensure that individuals receive the care they need and deserve, we need social care to be properly funded by Government.'