Health and wellbeing boards should be given more powers to ensure that GP consortia and local authorities work together, the King’s Fund has said.
In a report on the integration of health and social care, the think tank expressed concern that weak health and wellbeing boards could have few powers over GP consortia that were “disinterested” in local authorities and chose to focus on immediate patient care.
It warned that while under the health white proposals there would be a duty on these boards to promote integration between and health and social care, no such duty would apply to GP consortia. The report also argued that responsibility for achieving integration was being located in the part of the new structure with the least powers to make it happen.
The King’s Fund report also called on the government to introduce a single outcomes framework for health, social care, and public health, if the “recast” relationship between the NHS, local government and social care was to succeed.
The report said the proposed frameworks were “too separate to incentivise providers and commissioners to work across organisational and service boundaries to achieve the best outcomes.”
King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham said getting services to work together was key to improving outcomes. He said: “The policy changes we are suggesting would help make this the norm, rather than the exception.”