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New Study Finds Evidence Of Workforce Integration Is ‘Weak’

A study commissioned by Skills for Care has found that the evidence base for workforce integration between social care and health is ‘weak’.

The study for Skills for Care’s Workforce Innovation Programme, and supported by Think Local Act Personal, looked at articles on workforce integration published since 2002, and was produced by the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University.

The report focused on five key themes central to the integration agenda which were organisational structures and behaviours, staff roles, staff recruitment and retention, human resource management and regulation, communication/ICT and finally training and education.

Although there was some progress in some of these areas, there was also a significant lack of evidence for change in other areas leaving the study’s authors to conclude that: ‘The evidence relating to integrated health and social care more generally, and workforce issues more specifically, has often been described as problematic, and this review found it to be weak.’

The review was part of the development work to help create fit for purpose Principles of Workforce Integration that will drive change across the two sectors to be published in late autumn.

Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen said: “The report shows what we already know which is helpful, and highlights key areas where more needs to be done, but I’m confident its findings will spark a useful debate before the publication of the Principles of Workforce Integration.”

Dr Sam Bennett, Director, Think Local Act Personal, said: “This report rightly reminds us how much is yet to be done to ensure the health and care workforce are skilled in delivering personalised services that focus on improving people’s lives, rather than fitting in with organisational processes.

This is a key area of interest in TLAP’s work programme, and we look forward to working with Skills for Care on the Principles for Workforce Integration and our wider partners to ensure that health and care integration is focused on the experience of the individual, not just the systems and structures that get in the way of them living good lives.”

To download the ‘Evidence review – Integrated health and social care’ report documents go to http://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/research/latest_research_reports/
Integrated_health_and_social_care_-_evidence_review_(October_2013).aspx

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