Ever heard of the Care Services Improvement Partnership? Well, if you are among the four out of five of our readers who hadn’t when we asked you a few months ago, don’t worry because it looks as though CSIP as we know it is heading for the scrapheap. Or, to be precise, there are plans to break it in two, and – wait for it – one half will go to health, the other to social care.
At two years old, the infant CSIP has at least survived longer than the 17 days that the National Care Standards Commission managed before its abolition was announced. What is more surprising is the message the Department of Health will be sending out about the importance of health and social care integration. CSIP chief executive Richard Humphries came to the job pledging to foster joined-up working. Indeed, two of the seven organisations that formed CSIP – the Integrated Care Network and the Change Agent Team – existed precisely for the purpose of achieving integration.
A question mark has hovered over CSIP ever since the appointment of director general of social care David Behan, who was always likely to stake a claim to his share of an organisation that the government sees as crucial to Our Health, Our Care, Our Say. While the division of CSIP between Behan and the strategic health authorities might clarify management responsibilities, as far as DH strategic objectives are concerned it is a howler. It has been claimed on many occasions that the government does not practise what it preaches about partnership and integration. If CSIP is torn in two, no one should wonder why these things are said.