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iCareHealth Blog

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GPs should be a gateway to social care and support services

| 16 Aug 2016

The main role of GPs has always been treating common medical conditions and referring patients to hospitals or other services for urgent and specialist treatment.

But gradually the role of GPs and primary care teams are changing. Driven by the integration agenda – which seeks a greater level of collaboration across frontline services – but also by the changing nature of the population’s health needs and rising demand on the NHS, new kinds of primary care services are being established.

Increasingly, patients are able to access GP-led hubs offering a range of services, or are given a social prescription that provides them with access to non-medical support, such as social clubs, peer networks or arts therapy and gardening. However, even with growing evidence that these models of care can reduce long-term demand on acute services, we have not yet seen a major shift in this direction.

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New ideas for social care reform must come from the grassroots

| 16 Aug 2016

Seventy years on from the creation of the welfare state and social care is one of the biggest, most important and yet most neglected social policies. Now another new government needs to face up to the vital need for radical reform. The spending cuts made in the name of austerity over the last six years have especially hit local authority social care. This in turn has particularly hurt the growing numbers of older and disabled people needing help, including mental health service users and people with learning difficulties. While the rhetoric surrounding social care has been all about integration, the tendency is still to treat it in isolation.

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Poor health and social integration denies elderly of personalised and effective care

| 02 Aug 2016

Older people are denied effective, personalised and responsive care due to poor integration across local systems, according to a new report.

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report, ‘Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers’, has warned that despite a widespread commitment for integration across the sectors, substantial progress is needed to better support people who use a number of services, reduce hospital admissions and to avoid confusion about where to go for help.

CQC’s chief executive, David Behan 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.”

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