The health and social care white paper should have called for the integration of services for older people across the two sectors, a conference heard last week.
Integrating agencies worked better than partnerships, Chris Town, chief executive of Greater Peterborough Primary Care Partnership, which is responsible for both health and adult social care, told the Primary Care 2006 conference.
He said: “If we really recognise that the big challenge for the NHS is an ageing population and long-term conditions, I don’t understand why we are not moving more quickly towards integration between health and social care for older people.”
The conference also heard that public health policies lacked clarity at national and local level.
Dr Paul Cosford, director of health strategy and public health at Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland Strategic Health Authority, praised the government’s commitment to public health, but said it had produced too many initiatives when a few, measurable objectives were needed.
The conference also heard that the introduction of community matrons was improving care for people with long-term conditions.
Helen Lyndon, lead community matron in Cornwall, said hospital admissions for people in the county using the service had dropped by 47 per cent last year and visits to GPs by 72 per cent.