Expert report: Accelerate health and social care integration in Wales

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething AM will today (Wednesday), join health and care workers, union representatives and academics for the launch of a report calling for the acceleration of health and social care integration in Wales.

They will gather at Cardiff’s Park Inn hotel at 10am for the publication of Working for a shared common purpose, written by the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care at the University of South Wales.

Public services trade union, UNISON, commissioned the report because care and health workers complain those receiving care are being failed by a disjointed system, whilst at the same time, there is little investment in care workers themselves.

The chief objective identified by the report was allowing individuals and their families control over the planning of their own care. This can be achieved it said, through integrated care with everyone working together seamlessly. Currently however, a lack of trust and poor communication between different agencies often leads to confusion and disruption of care.

The authors evaluated three case studies, in Monmouthshire, Bridgend and Anglesey; interviewing front-line workers and strategic leaders. The Monnow Vale hub in Monmouthshire was cited as a model example where resources are mobilised quickly; unnecessary bureaucracy is eliminated and staff are empowered to take action. Workers felt listened to, trusted and invested in and staff retention improved, so did continuity of care.

Elsewhere in Bridgend, staff worked to avoid unnecessary admission to hospital, supporting early discharge and independence in the community.

The report identified the following as enabling excellence in care: –

  • Care should be focused on the needs of the individual
  • Care providers must show strong and clear leadership and involve care staff, empowering them to take decisions in the best interests of those receiving care. Care workers should be provided with ongoing support and training.
  • Care workers’ trade union representatives have an invaluable role in the planning of caring
  • Integrated care should not necessarily be seen as a ‘cost saver’ but as a ‘service improver’ which leads to effective individual care
  • Acceptance achieving integrated working is mandatory not optional

Margaret Thomas, UNISON Cymru Wales regional secretary said,

“UNISON members working across care and health services know we can do better than this in Wales. They want to be involved in planning care and trusted to make decisions so the needs of the individual are at the centre. You can’t get quality care without investing in staff and listening to their UNISON representatives. This report calls for an acceleration in the scale and pace of health and social care integration. We’ve got to have a more effective service which will help service users and employees alike.”

Professor Mark Llewellyn, one of the report authors said,

“Quality care is focused on the individual and their needs, not the structure delivering care. Everyone needs to share that common purpose. The positive message of our report is any obstacles to excellence in care can be overcome if you take the workforce with you and trust their judgement.”

Notes

  • Link to Working for a shared common purpose report
  • UNISON spokespeople and Professor Mark Llewellyn are available for interview; see contact below
  • The seminar will take place from 10am – 4pm, Wednesday 16 May, Park Inn, Cardiff city centre. Speakers include:
  • Vaughan Gething AM, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport
  • Professor Mark Llewellyn, Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care
  • Dr Ruth Hussey, Chair, Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales
  • Gerry Evans, Director of Regulation and Intelligence, Social Care Wales
  • Dave Watson, head of policy and public affairs, UNISON Scotland
  • Matthew Egan, UNISON national officer for social care
  • UNISON Cymru/Wales social care members include social workers; occupational therapists and social care workers working across residential, non-residential and domiciliary care services. Our members undertake roles in early years and childcare; mental healthcare; care for older people; disabled people’s care and caring for people with learning disabilities.
  • UNISON Cymru/Wales health care members are from all non-medical occupational groups including: nurses and health care assistants; midwives; health visitors; occupational therapists; administrative, finance and HR staff; ambulance staff including paramedics, technicians, control room and maintenance staff, therapy and healthcare science staff; estates and housekeeping staff; technicians and maintenance staff; commissioning staff; allied health professionals; scientific staff and healthcare managers.

Contact

Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397