Patients will receive better, more joined-up care under new Government plans to improve the links between health and social care

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The Government has announced plans to improve the links between health and social care to better meet the needs of patients across the UK.

The integration white paper is a policy document produced by the Government that sets out proposals to build on the recommendations made by NHS England and NHS Improvement in integrating care.

Personalised and accessible care

Under new plans in the integration white paper, the Government hopes to ensure that care is more personalised and accessible and remove the burdens on patients. Better information sharing will mean that people will no longer have to remember key facts such as dates of diagnosis or medicines prescribed, taking pressure off patients to coordinate their own care.

Patients will have a single digital care record so that they can book appointments, order prescriptions, and communicate with their care providers on one platform, while those involved in delivering health and care services can access the patient’s latest information.

Plans aim to help level up healthcare

The white paper sets out some of the ways in which health and care systems will draw on resources and skills across the NHS and local government to better meet the needs of communities, reduce waiting lists, and help level up healthcare. This includes:

  • better transparency and choice
  • more personalised care
  • earlier intervention
  • clear communication
  • improved access to social care services through NHS data sharing
  • better treatment
  • better NHS support to care homes
  • coordinated services
  • more flexible services
  • better value for money.

‘Better integration is vital’

The plans say that local health services will be tailored to the specific needs of the community to ensure that the right services are available. This could mean, for example, more diabetes clinics in areas with higher obesity, or additional support for people to stop smoking in communities where there are high numbers of smokers.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, said: ‘Better integration is vital to stop people falling into the gaps between health and social care.

‘Ensuring our health and care systems work in unison will mean we can support hardworking staff, provide better care to patients, and deliver value for the taxpayer.

‘Our integration white paper is part of our wider plans to reform and recover the health and social care system, ensuring everyone gets the treatment and care they need, when and where they need it.’

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