How long has the debate around integrated care been going on? It’s a constant theme running through the social care debate yet one that remains fully unresolved and one that seems difficult to achieve but why?
It’s not rocket science!
Take, for example, the space shuttle. That feat of engineering consisted of 2.5 million component parts, including more than 200 miles of wiring! Thousands of scientists, designers, engineers and manufacturers managed to come together to create a single machine that enabled regular space travel. Even so that would not have happened without the thousands of others who also played a role. The astronauts who flew the shuttle were also products of a system that selected, trained and developed them to ensure they were capable of operating such a complex machine. Then there were those on the ground who made sure the launch and landing were successfully achieved.
Yet we struggle to give individuals the integrated care and support they need!
The component parts of providing integrated care are considerably less than those needed for space travel and the cost considerably less!
Yet bringing together social care, health, housing, benefits and employment for the benefit of an individual seem to be an impossible task for the bureaucracy of the U.K.
Obviously because social care is so low on the bureaucratic pecking order it means that the other elements needed for integrated care tend to take precedent. Social care is a small part of the Department of Health and Housing and Benefits sit within in two other Whitehall departments. At the level of the Whitehall bureaucracy focus is on departmental achievement and policy formation with little or no consideration to the individual yet by changing focus to achieving integrated care for the individual departmental achievement and policy formation could actually improve.
With the space shuttle, the goal was achieving manned space travel that could benefit the space programme by being reusable. All those thousands of people involved in the project came together to achieve that goal, integrating their role into that single achievement. Obviously there were disasters yet overall that particular programme was a success.
Those in Government should learn that if the goal of social care is the life of the individual we can begin to make social care the Primary service under which all other elements needed to provide effective integration are mustered and directed by social care services.
Completely effective social care means having a fully integrated service whose goal is the needs of the individual, why is it so hard after all it’s not rocket science.