Meeting the objectives of joint working between the NHS and social services set out in the NHS plan is being hampered by the slow progress of service delivery and by recruitment problems, according to the chief inspector of social services.

The annual report of chief inspector Denise Platt, issued this week, looks at the progress made to the end of March this year. It says 'whilst there is positive improvement in joint work between councils and the NHS, there is some way to go before the integrated services envisaged are realised.

The report claims that recruitment and retention of appropriately qualified staff is getting in the way of achieving the objectives. It also says many councils report that continuing changes in the NHS have hampered the development of stable partnerships.