NHS and local government chiefs pledge better integration of health and social care

The NHS Commissioning Board and Local Government Association have today formally agreed to work together towards better integration of health and social care.

At their joint conference “Commissioning for Integrated Health and Care” in London on 29 October, the Chairs and Chief Executives of the NHS CB and the LGA pledged commitment to their common purposes of meeting the needs and aspirations of their local communities.

The leaders agreed to produce joint annual plans setting out how they will work together to ensure joined-up, high-quality health, social care and safeguarding services for everyone. They pledged to meet regularly to assess progress and set future priorities.

The agreement formalises existing close working between the LGA and the NHS, embedding their commitment to encouraging health and social care leaders to work together, as well as ensuring access for staff across the sector to specialist training courses and best practice.

The Health and Social Care Act requires CCGs and councils to work together, through Health and Wellbeing Boards, to make sure their strategies are joined up, with shared goals for key aims like reducing health inequalities. The agreement between the LGA and the NHS CB cements this joint working at national level, and reflects the commitment and dedication shown by local and regional leaders.

Chair of the NHS Commissioning Board, Sir Malcolm Grant, said: “The NHS and local government have long shared a determination to make health and social care truly joined up for every individual. The structural changes in the NHS present us with a fantastic opportunity to make it happen, and this formal agreement between the NHS CB and the LGA recognises that.

“Truly integrated care across the NHS and local government will help us run services more efficiently, allowing us to invest even more in improving and innovating. But much more importantly integration means we can work towards seamless, tailored packages of health and social care for every individual.”

Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the LGA, said: “Excellent primary care and hospital services are vital to the health and wellbeing of our communities, but wider factors such as housing, leisure and transport are just as important to ensuring people live long, healthy, happy lives.

“Local government and the NHS have worked increasingly closely in recent years, particularly over public health and social care services, so we know that when we form effective partnerships we become much more than the sum of our parts.

This Concordat aims to build on those existing local partnership arrangements, and gives us the basis for developing even closer, more effective working at both a national and local level in future.”