One thing is clear from the government response to the NHS Future Forum. Contrary to press reports, no “order” has been given to deliver “integration of health and social care”.

Even the pledge that “patient experience of integrated care will be measured” is revealed in the detailed response to be less than clear cut.

Integration should and will grow, but little fundamental has yet happened to move us from the era of “encouragement”, which has been developing in fits and starts for many years. 

The same can be said of the move on nursing standards – significantly also put forward as being driven by the prime minister. What detail there is reveals not much more than the encouragement of existing policies and developments.

It is hard to argue with the principles being propounded in this populist agenda. However, the overwhelming impression is of sticking plasters being applied to self-inflicted wounds as the government attempts to rescue its reputation as a safe steward of the NHS.