Collaboration between health agencies and a range of other statutory and non-statutory bodies has always been important, but has gained an even larger focus over the past thirty years. Changes in disease profiles, shifting demographics and the disaggregation of services to a wide array of bodies has made it crucial that health organisations secure more integrated solutions to multi-faceted problems. Although the emphasis has often been on health and social care, this also includes a range of wider services (such as housing or education) as well as partnerships with the private sector, the voluntary sector and with users and carers. More recently, the emphasis has also been on collaboration and integration between different parts of the health care system, including primary, community and hospital services.
HSMC’s Health and Social Care Partnerships, Collaboration and Integration Programme works with central government, local health and social care communities and front-line services to investigate issues of collaboration through research, consultancy and the dissemination of good practice. Throughout the Partnerships, Collaboration and Integration Programme, we try to emphasise collaboration as a means to an end, not (as is too often the case) an end in itself. Recognising the limitations of a number of areas of the present partnership and integration literature we endeavour to inject an amount of theoretical rigour into all of our activities, but also make these as relevant as possible to policy and practice.
A key current issue is individual budgets and personalisation in health and social care.