Closer working may herald joint health and social services targets

Social workers and health professionals could be working towards
joint targets in the future as the government’s drive to integrate
services gathers pace.

A performance development group has been set up within the
Department of Health to look at how to implement joint performance
indicators for services where health and social care professionals
already work closely together.

Health and social care workers in community mental health teams,
for example, often work closely together but have separate targets.

The work was in its early stages but could begin to be rolled out
across services within two years, said a DoH spokesperson. The
group will be headed by the DoH’s health and social care joint unit
policy manager Paul Brittain.

There have also been calls for more multi-disciplinary working
across children’s services from the NHS Confederation and
children’s charity the National Children’s Bureau.

Joint targets across health, social care and education were needed
to reflect the growing emphasis on collaborative working in
children’s services outlined in the green paper Every Child
, stated the NHS Confederation, which is the membership
body for NHS organisations.

Joint performance indicators based around children’s well-being and
protection would improve services more than imposing a separate
target on already “overloaded” NHS hospital trusts, the NHS
Confederation said.

Paul Ennals, chief executive of the NCB, said primary care trusts
needed to work more closely with social services departments in
planning children and family services and that joint targets were
crucial to that.

“There could be joint indicators based around the five broad
outcomes of the green paper,” added Ennals, who is also member of
the DoH’s children’s taskforce.

Meanwhile, the NHS Confeder-ation is to extend membership to
voluntary and private sector providers of NHS and social services,
reflecting their growing involvement in service delivery.

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