Last week, as part of my work with the Executive Briefing Programme, I attended the LGC and HSJ Integration Summit. From my work with Jos Creese on the Health and Social Care Integration report, I am beginning to understand the vast complexities around this topic and massive challenges that exist. The stakeholders that need to come together are diverse, and would be forgiven for feeling a little helpless as individuals when confronted with these challenges, however what I discovered at the summit was optimism.

The summit was structured around solving challenges in health and social care integration. The group I joined focused on how services can be used to support families: “It takes a village to raise a child”. We started by defining a resilient family, then asked ourselves questions around how we can evolve systems and communities that create resilience. By the end of the third session we had established a vision, an idea of what success would like, some guiding principles, identified the ‘elephants in the room’ in making change a reality and started to solidify practical steps for action.

Our group included representatives from CCGs, local government, education and primary care – drawing cumulatively from almost 200 years of experience!

What did we learn?

  • Cost should be seen as a ‘context’, rather than the aim of a project, and in our vision of success should never be the reason for someone not getting help.
  • By working together education, primary care and the wider community can reduce the need for children to be referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) – as has been proved in Plymouth’s successful ‘gateway’ project that has reduced referrals by over 60%.
  • A positive message is really import – by talking about ability and achievement young people can be encouraged to more positive outcomes. (For example ‘Kids can achieve’ programme in Harrow).
  • GPs are spending 20% of their time on health concerns that are ‘medical’, and need to work effectively with partners to manage the other 80% of health determinants.
  • Co-production is the way forward – professionals need to involve patients and carers from the start in designing new services to meet their needs.

At the close of our sessions together we agreed to form a ‘Community of Purpose’, to continue to share knowledge and experience aimed at creating best practice and driving forward change in services available.

I would like to thank the group for welcoming me, as a non-health professional, and sharing their knowledge. I am helping to facilitate the ‘Community of Purpose’ and would be happy to hear from anyone else who would like to join. Contact me.

About the author

Natasha Veenendaal

Natasha runs Eduserv's Local Government Executive Briefing programme. Working closely with Jos Creese, Principal Analyst, and the steering group of senior local government leaders, she aims to increase sector-wide understanding of the benefits of cloud computing and broader digital initiatives. This includes working on research reports, conducting interviews, putting together events and engaging with industry figures at events and through social media. Before Eduserv, she spent 14 years working for international publishing and events businesses. First in the financial sector with 9 years at Euromoney, including a two year secondment in Hong Kong, and more recently 5 years in digital, delivering conference agendas on topics such as app development, enterprise mobility, cloud, and digital marketing.

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