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A vision of integrated support
In the personalisation of care which is supported by the new Care Act, an important element is the integration of services to support the individual across a wider range of their needs. In responding to consultation, the Government stated that the Act would ‘simplify the care and support system and provide the freedom and flexibility to integrate with other local services, innovate and achieve better results for people'.
Integrating services to support older people, people with mental health problems, and with disability, has been a theme of developing services since the establishment of community care principles. It has continued to be supported by recent reports, the Francis report, the Bubb report, the Five Year Forward View, and other responses to problems which arise in the provision of support services nationally.
‘Our support, our lives’
Scope, a charity for disabled people, has produced a report, 'Our support, our lives', giving its vision of how integrated support should, and could work for people with disability. It sees this as supporting people with disability to lead the same aspirational kind of life as everyone else in work, education and contributing to family and society.
'Our support, our lives' outlines the current shortcomings, opportunities for change, and a wider vision of the kind of services which could work together for people with disability. In times of increasing demand it is not just more cost-efficient to integrate services in wider partnership, it is more truly serving the interests and rights of people with support needs, including disability.
Integration of services
The report looks at the need for better outcomes, and the importance of focusing on the needs of people with disability, which Scope claims has not been a public priority in the past. Service provision, and statistical information on uptake and outcomes in services for this group has been piecemeal to date. Integrating services will mean better research providing better information, and a focus on using this in planning the integration of services for people with disability.
More planning, and better use of incentives in the Better Care Fund is advocated by the report. This has the promise to develop specific and age appropriate support for education, work and travel for people with disability.
The report has what I believe is an inspiring wider vision. That is one where all services, and education and employment, are integrated and working together for individuals, to enable holistic, responsive and flexible services for all. Let us hope that the Care Act will support working on these basic issues in support services.
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