Early integrated care project wound down after failings

The past few weeks have been a difficult time for the development of the holy grail of health policy – integrated care: an NHS trust in the Midlands that was supposed to hold a ‘landmark’ integrated care contract worth £360m is set to be wound-down, and a contract in the Wirral heralded as achieving ‘truly integrated’ health and social care service is to be terminated after six years as it brought no improvements in care. Alongside these failures, came a briefing from the Nuffield Trust and The Health Foundation that places much of the blame for the failure of integration in health and social care on the lack of change in working cultures in the NHS and social care to support collaboration.

Writing in the HSJ, Helen Buckingham, director of strategy and operations at the Nuffield Trust, and Sarah Reed, improvement fellow at The Health Foundation, note that  “Integration has too often felt removed from the day job of those working in services, and from patients and service users who would gain so much from seeing that more joined-up care delivery actually happens.”

The Black Country, once considered a leader in developing integrated care, will now see the scrapping of a trust set up to hold a £360m contract for the integration of health and social care across the region, Dudley Integrated Health and Care Trust (DIHC).

DIHC, which began development over eight years ago, is now going to be wound down or merged with another trust by the Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB).

Full story in The Lowdown, 4 February 2023