Government departments including the Treasury, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health are “committed” to integrating health and social care, a top health official has insisted.
Jon Rouse, the DH’s director general for social care, made the comments at a Local Government Association executive board meeting on Thursday.
He said he could not reveal many policy details because he was “in the midst of negotiations” about the 2014-15 spending round. However, he said, the spending round would be “an opportunity to drive integration”.
He added: “The Treasury, DCLG and [DH] are committed to that principle.”
Mr Rouse said he was impressed by a joint report published last month by the LGA, NHS England and other health and care groups, which outlined a definition of integrated care and a series of steps that could be taken to join up services.
“I don’t know if the final outcome [of the spending round] will exactly replicate the model put forward [in the report], but I do know the [report’s] principles will survive,” he said.
Mr Rouse acknowledged that the need to improve information-sharing was “the biggest message from the community budget pilots”. He said a report on data-sharing by Dame Fiona Caldicott, published in April, was helpful because it highlighted the potential benefits of sharing information between different public bodies.
However, he said, the Caldicott report “doesn’t break down some of the barriers we face, so we continue to grapple with this.”