‘Seamless services are unattainable’

Health and social care professionals should stop aiming for a
perfect “seamless service”, a London conference heard last

David Panter, chief executive of Brighton and Hove Council, told
delegates at Community Care‘s conference on the National
Service Framework for Older People that the idea of a seamless
service was ill-conceived.

“Rather than aspire to a seamless service we should be clear about
where the seams are and ensure they are properly stitched together
and allow people to travel across them,” Panter said.

He said the notion that workers should try to forget who they were
employed by was impossible to achieve, and referred to difficulties
in his area where local government social care staff had been
seconded to the NHS.

“I am getting to the point where I can no longer face some of my
staff. They are on secondment to the community trust and being paid
substantially less than their NHS colleagues. The NHS recognises
the cost of living in Brighton and Hove and offers a London

The different professions need to strip down their models of care
and together reassemble a “common new model” that includes the best
of each, he said.

He added that there were practical problems in implementing the
NSF, including care home closures and staffing issues. “There are
huge problems in my city in recruiting staff in health and social
care,” Panter said.

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