The Department of Health is looking to expand its integrated care pilot scheme by “harnessing good will”.

The DH announced today that it wanted to expand the pilot scheme from its current 16 sites to create a wider network.

I think we’re appealing to the NHS wish to do things better, by encouraging innovation and better ideas

Potential candidates can judge their suitability to join via a self-assessment tool on the DH website.

Health minister Mike O’Brien told HSJ the idea was to encourage integrated care by “harnessing good will” rather than “urging or penalising”. As a result there will be no targets or deadlines set for joining the network.

“I think we’re appealing to the NHS wish to do things better, by encouraging innovation and better ideas,” said Mr O’Brien.

He said cooperation between local authorities and health commissioners and providers had not been sufficient so far, but said the integrated care pilots offered hope of progress.

He said: “To be frank, most local authorities and healthcare providers ought to be doing this anyway. It’s sometimes not happened.

“We’ve tried various things and what seems to have worked is this integrated pilot,” he said.

The original pilots will be evaluated in March 2011, with the aim of spreading good practice examples to the rest of the NHS.

Mr O’Brien said learning from the pilots and the network was central to the process of improving local cooperation and breaking down silos between health and social care.

He said: “The NHS is brilliant at innovation but pretty poor at spreading them. It’s been a real concern of mine.”




 The current 16 pilots, announced on 1 April 2009, are:
Bournemouth and Poole Teaching PCT
Cambridgeshire ICO
Church View Medical Practice, Sunderland
NHS Cumbria
Durham Dales Integrated Care Organisation
Northamptonshire Integrated Care Partnership
North Tyneside PCT
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT
NHS Norfolk and Norfolk County Council
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
North Cornwall Practice-Based Commissioning Group
Principia - Partners in Health, Nottinghamshire
NHS Tameside and Glossop
Torbay Care Trust
Tower Hamlets PCT
Wakefield Integrated Substance Misuse Service