We all know that the health and social care system in England is in a time of enormous change; as the population ages, demand grows for social care and help for people to stay healthy and independent. At the same time, the need to improve the links between health and social care is apparent – to improve the experiences of patients and service users, to reduce the duplication (and fill the gaps) in the way services are delivered, and to save money.
So I was interested to discover recently that the King’s Fund has launched a Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England, in order to gather evidence about the way that the current architecture works (or doesn’t) in providing health and social care services to society, and to consider how it might develop to be sustainable in the longer term. As they say themselves:
The challenges facing health and social care are significant and urgent. The Commission’s work will seek to inform the debate on the sustainability of the current NHS and social care funding models and ensure that questions about funding are addressed alongside analysis of how best to meet the needs of 21st-century patients and service users.
The Commission has made a call for evidence, open until the end of this month, which will inform the recommendations that they will publish next year. It’s well worth checking out the site, and having a look at the way that demographic analysis is used to spark debate.
The Commission is independent of the King’s Fund, but the King’s Fund also hosts a related project, called “Time to think differently“, which provides some thought-provoking materials about how to meet the current and future demands on the health and social care system. Amongst the most interesting resources are a series of guest blogs from experts across a range of fields; thinking about how information sharing can facilitate the changes being considered for health and social care comes up in a blog by Roy Lilley, which looks at the role of technology in revolutionising care; and Viv Bennett highlights that, particularly in managing long term health and social care interventions, patients and service users only want to have to tell their story once. It’s good to see that information sharing is being seen in context – not just as a big IT project, but as a facilitator of the kind of public services that the public wants to receive.