Integrated care is seamless, coordinated and locally designed care that puts patients at the centre of service organisation, considers their needs in a holistic way, and develops high quality services that meet these needs in settings that are accessible and convenient for patients.
The Future Hospital Commission report (2013) set out a number of recommendations for how to provide patients with the safe, high-quality, sustainable care that they deserve. Its 11 principles of patient care call for services to be designed with the patient in mind, bringing together elements from across health and social care to support patients wherever they are, in hospital or in the community.
Integrated care is one solution to the myriad challenges facing the NHS, enabling the health service to deal more effectively and efficiently with the pressures of an ageing population and increased demand from patients with complex long-term conditions and multi-morbidities.
Integration should be tri-partite and bring together primary and secondary care, physical and mental health services, and health and social care. This is a formidable challenge but there is a wealth of good practice and experience for physicians to learn from and share.
As part of the Future Hospital Programme, the RCP supported the development of integrated care services and facilitated the sharing of best practice through:
Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation
The RCP is extremely grateful to the Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation who provided a grant for the research project: Integrated Diabetes Care in Oxfordshire