By Margaret Edwards and Clive Miller.
This is a timely book. First, it is about an issue preoccupying all social services departments and primary care teams, and, second, it includes all initiatives announced to the end of 2002. The Every Child Matters green paper came too late to be included but has added to fears that the integration of adult care services will be left behind if children’s trusts come to pass.
Edwards and Miller give a clear and concise summary of what is driving integration in policy and legislation. They argue that integration has to be at three levels:services to the individual user, the service network, and the whole system. But they warn that integration based on organisational structures alone can be disastrous.
Their case studies show what can be achieved through partnership agreements using Health Act flexibilities. And the authors are scrupulous in noting the problems, which have to be overcome in securing integrated care.
Human resources, finance, IT and commissioning are covered in separate chapters with a consistent focus on outcomes that benefit people and communities.
This publication should be widely read by those seeking to bring about sustainable change.
Terry Bamford is a member of the General Social Care Council.