Centre for Mental Health today welcomed the NHS Future Forum’s call for Health and Wellbeing Boards to become the ‘crucible of health and social care integration’ but warned that effective integration will need to look beyond the usual horizons of health and social care services.
Commenting on the Future Forum’s report on integration and the Government’s response, Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sean Duggan said: “The Forum has rightly called for integration to work around people not systems and for Health and Wellbeing Boards to have a major role in ensuring this happens in their localities.
“We welcome the proposal for existing pooled budgeting arrangements to be protected and for more coherence between NHS, social care and public health outcome measures. These are vital first steps to create the right environment for agencies to join forces to support people whose needs transcend traditional service boundaries.
“But we need to do much more to nurture integration in all its forms and to get best value from a range of public services which too often duplicate effort or leave gaps into which the most vulnerable people fall.
“Health and Wellbeing Boards need to work not just with health and social care services but with housing and employment services, the police and schools. Only then will they be able to address the causes of mental ill health and to ensure people with multiple needs get the right support.
“The success of these reforms will also depend on the development of better outcome measures that are shared across different services and that reflect the range of people’s mental and physical health needs.”