Health & social care integration – an epic quest of the 21st Century

Posted on September 4th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. Comments Off on Health & social care integration – an epic quest of the 21st Century

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

For centuries, marine explorers sought to find a ‘North West Passage’ whereby ships could travel from the North Atlantic, across the top of Canada and so into Asian waters. Their endeavours were hampered by the vagaries of wind, extreme low temperatures, drifting pack ice and the very real risk of becoming ice-bound.

It was not until 2009 that a reduction in ice brought about by climate change enabled a permanently navigable North West Passage to be established.

To my mind, those who would bring about health and social care integration find themselves just as challenged as those early explorers and that, until a circumstance as potent as climate change supervenes, the best they can hope for is only limited success.

Take ‘Devo-Manc’, the health and social care integration programme for Greater Manchester which left the slipway in April last year. In the October issue of Caring Times, commentator Bryan Higgins charts its confused course. Other vessels are reluctant to sail in its wake and Bryan quotes Neil McInroy, chief executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies thinktank as saying

‘Only three people have ever understood it. One is probably dead, the other has gone mad. I spend all my time discussing public policy and I don’t bloody get it. I’ve been to seminars led by people working on it and I’m not even sure they do.’ – which was pretty much the same situation with the early navigators, scratching their heads over the Admiralty charts.

Bryan’s piece is worth reading; I’m not saying it will imbue you with understanding, but it will certainly give you an idea of the complexity of the challenge.

NB: No blog next week as I am on holiday.

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