New conversations with new players? The relationship between primary care and social care in an era of clinical commissioning

As debates continue around the impact of the Health and Social Care Act, one thing seems certain. Whatever does or does not happen next, there is going to be a much more significant role for general practice and primary care. As Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities form new 'clusters', joint working at local level will increasingly take place between social care and the emerging clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Interestingly, we know relatively little about relationships at this level. While there was significant interest in primary care/social care joint working and in concepts such as GP-attached social work in the late 1990s, the focus since then has often been on local authority/PCT relationships - and GPs have tended not to be seen as key players in these discussions.

Against this background, this study seeks to review the evidence about joint working between primary care and adult social care in an era of clinical commissioning. Specifically, the review will ask:

  • What impact can joint work between primary and social care have (at either operational or strategic levels)?
  • What helps and hinders such joint working?
  • What implications does this have for current and future social care practice?

In order to explore these issues, we will:

  • Review the formal literature on relationships between primary care and adult social care, focusing on services for older people and on material published since 2000.
  • Conduct interviews with key stakeholders about the current and future implications of clinical commissioning for joint working.


Glasby, J., Miller, R. and Posaner, R. (2013) SSCR Scoping Review: New Conversations Between Old Players? The Relationship between Generl Practice and Social Care in an Era of Clinical Commissioning. NIHR School for Social Care Research, London.

This study is funded by the National School for Social Care Research and will be conducted by Jon Glasby, Robin Miller and Rachel Posaner.