The future of care and support – person centred and collaborative

Last week saw the publication of the final report by the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England and the Integrated Personal Commissioning Prospectus along with Getting serious about personalisation in the NHS. A common theme is the need for a sea change in how health and social care is delivered.

Amongst many important proposals I was pleased to see a focus on personalised care and support planning as a key means through which people can be full partners with health and care professionals. The proposals also included advocacy, peer support and brokerage as well as the option of a personal budget for those who would benefit and want one.

More people than ever before within the health and care system now recognise that in order to improve the lives of people with long-term conditions a major re-think of our current approach is required. This will mean many changes across the entire health and care system. For instance, it will mean a change to GP consultations, changing how our clinicians and professionals are trained, changing the support that people have access to, including for carers and family members.

People with long-term conditions often spend just a few hours a year with health and care professionals, and mostly manage their conditions themselves. The health and care system must therefore support individuals to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their own health and care, and to support one another in the context of their wider families and communities.

Over recent years there has been a wide range of initiatives aimed to help make the shift we want to see. What we need now is action to forge connections across the health and care system to make these initiatives a success and at the same time put more power behind them. Our coalition is developing plans to support all those in the health and social care system who are determined to make person centred care and support a reality – both professionals and people using health and social care.

People using public services increasingly want to shape and steer them so that the support received fits with their individual lives and goals. This support should build on rather than replace their own resources and connections in their communities. Pioneering professionals are supporting these shifts by working in partnership with these people not just delivering to them because this approach is more effective, efficient and rewarding.

This change is not easy. Organisations and cultures do not shift quickly and this is why we need a coalition of partner organisations and individuals to help make a faster and deeper change towards more collaborative, person-centred care. For me, it is only through partnership, placing people at the centre and working with key organisations, professional groups and policy-makers that systems and cultures can achieve significant change.

That is why we want to create the conditions for change in policy and delivery and also offer help and support to the ‘doers’ out there who are making a change to their lives and their practice. Core to our work will be the leadership of people using the care and support system – experts by experience. They will co-produce our work programme, be represented in all our decision making and help deliver the work of the coalition. Over the next few months we will be setting out our vision and our practical commitments.

Martin Routledge is the new director of the team supporting The Coalition for Collaborative Care.

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