National partners make commitment to join up health and social care

In the first ever system-wide ‘shared commitment’, NHS England as one of the key national partners in the National Collaboration for Integrated Care and Support has signed up to a series of commitments on how we will help local areas integrate services.
Minister of State for Care Services, Norman Lamb, said:

“People don’t want health care or social care, they just want the best care. This is a vital step in creating a truly joined-up system that puts people first. Unless we change the way we work, the NHS and care system is heading for a crisis. This national commitment to working together is an important moment in ensuring we have a system which is fit for the future.”

For health, care and support to be ‘integrated’, it must be person-centred, coordinated, and tailored to the needs and preferences of the individual, their carer and family. It means moving away from episodic care to a more holistic approach to health, care and support needs, that puts the needs and experience of people at the centre of how services are organised and delivered.

Where local areas have succeeded in integrating health, care and support services, too often it has been despite of the national system rather than because of it. This is why NHS England has joined a range of national partner organisations to tackle national barriers and enable and encourage locally-led, integrated services to flourish.

Integrated Care and Support: Our Shared Commitment

The national partners have co-produced ‘Integrated care and support: our shared commitment’, a framework document on integration, which has been published today.

The document, signed by all the partners, sets out how local areas can use existing structures such as Health and Wellbeing Boards to bring together local authorities, the NHS, care and support providers, education, housing services, public health and others to make further steps towards integration.

A Narrative for Person-Centred Coordinated Care

National Voices, a national coalition of health and care charities, has developed a person-centred ‘narrative’ on integration (also available as an easy read version). This is an agreed definition of what we mean by ‘integrated’ care. It provides a guide to the sort of things that integrated care will achieve, such as better planning, more personal involvement of the person using services, and free access to good information. It also provides some clarity over what local areas should be aiming to achieve practically, in their efforts to integrate services.

It is written not just for the experts, but for patients, people, families and carers. It shows them what they have a right to expect, so they can then demand the most helpful care and support.

As a national partner we have adopted this definition of what good integrated care and support looks and feels like for people, and we are asking local areas to sign up to using it too.


Together the national partners are asking local areas to express an interest in becoming ‘pioneers’ to act as exemplars, demonstrating the use of ambitious and innovative approaches to efficiently deliver integrated care.

We are looking for pioneers that will work across the whole of their local health, public health and care and support systems, and alongside other local authority departments as necessary, to achieve and demonstrate the scale of change that is required.

The national partners will provide tailored support to pioneers. In return, we expect them to be at the forefront of sharing and promoting what they’ve learned for wider adoption across the country.