May 16, 2018
Published today is a WIHSC report looking at the way in which the integration of health and social care is impacting on the workforce. Public services trade union, UNISON, commissioned the report to better understand the nature of integration to date, and the ways in which integration can be accelerated in Wales.
The report provides insights from three practical examples of health and social care integration – the WIHSC team researched the experience of integration in Monmouthshire, Bridgend and Anglesey, interviewing front-line workers and strategic leaders.
The report identifies the following as enabling excellence in integrated 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 important 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
WIHSC Director and Professor of Health and Care Policy, Mark Llewellyn, 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.”
Margaret Thomas, UNISON Cymru Wales regional secretary said: “Care and health workers know we have to do care 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 heart. You can’t get quality care without investing in the staff and listening to their 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 patients and employees alike.”