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Respiratory community calls for more radical strategy on integrated care

Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) NHS health professionals and commissioners believe that national policymakers need to have a more radical strategy for integrated care, a survey has revealed.

Nearly all the 122 NHS health professionals and commissioners who responded to the survey by Respiratory Futures , the online respiratory community platform, saw the benefits of integrated care as enabling patients to be treated closer to, or in the home; providing better treatment and care for patients; increasing patients’ quality of life and reducing demand on hospitals.

However, two thirds of respondents believe integrated care has insufficient resources and funding to be implemented successfully.

Barriers identified as preventing integrated care being delivered more widely include:

  • historic divisions in the way the NHS is structured and funded  
  • insufficient training to create a ‘hyper agile’ NHS workforce to be able to work across hospital and community settings  
  • insufficient incentives for hospitals to create integrated job roles to help deliver integrated care  
  • current problems with recruitment and retention of NHS staff
  • lack of sufficient investment in IT infrastructure and governance
  • lack of sufficient diagnostic services in the community  

Dr Binita Kane, Consultant Chest Physician, at Manchester University Foundation Trust, and a member of the PCRS Service Development Committee, said:  “We hope that the NHS Long Term Plan will provide a major step forward in promoting integrated care and improving respiratory health across the country.  

“Integrated care involves moving away from the current hospital-focused, often reactive system of care, towards prevention and continuous community support that allows people to be treated and managed at home or closer to home. This will require seamless pathways of care across the whole system rather than the current disjointed care between providers. But the key challenge for the NHS is how to achieve this at scale.”

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