The Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt has said that there needs to be a revolution in the health and social care sector by using technology to integrate services.
In his recent speech to the Local Government Association (LGA) on 4 July Jeremy Hunt outlined how “a Berlin Wall of paperwork”, was preventing both patients and providers from accessing the system properly by cluttering the links between the NHS and social care.
Key to seamlessly integrating local care, accident and emergency care and social care will be the new NHS number which will provide a single, secure identifiable trail of information for every patient.
The NHS number will enable people to be treated more efficiently and safely as health and social care providers will be able to access their records instantly.
The benefits for those who receive social care include:
- Information taken just once. This will prevent the distress some people, such as those with dementia, feel when having to constantly answer the same questions;
- No more time consuming paper duplication- Care providers will be able to spend more time with people rather than rechecking their paper file;
- Fewer A&E admissions- Care providers and emergency services will now be able to see instantly whether a person needs inpatient care or if they can be cared for at home;
- Better prevention of misdiagnose- This will give people greater involvement in their care and more independence.
Jeremy Hunt used the example of Stockport to highlight this fundamental shift of working differently to integrate services. Stockport council, CCG’s and Age UK work together to share information electronically by linking in to local GP records, an example is that Social Workers can electronically refer people to the Continuing Health Care team, who can identify the allocated worker and then contribute directly to decisions made and track the outcome.
This form of integrated health and social care has seen the average time taken to assess and plan for a person’s needs reduced from 56 to 15 days and unnecessary delays dropped from 86 per cent to 31 per cent.
To find out more about how integrated care will revolutionise the health care system please watch the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt’s speech to the LGA here.
Information supplied by:
Claire McGinley, Policy Communications Manager.