Evaluation of current models of older people’s care integration are either not carried out or are insufficient, the Care Quality Commission has said.

The regulator reviewed eight locations to assess how integration of care for older people has been rolled out across England.

It found that evaluations were either not carried out or were small in scale, locally varied and failed to look at the outcomes of the overall system of care in an area. It also uncovered that due to their relative new implementation, it “did not see a noticeable difference between sites where new models of care were being piloted and those where they were not”.

As a result the CQC concluded that “nationally, this [lack of evaluation] poses a question as to how we can assess whether new service models are effective”.

The CQC report, published this week, also identified that integration is still not “mainstream”, instead relying on goodwill between providers or temporary funding to get local initiatives off the ground. Further, the regulator said it was not routine to use standardised assessment tools or share information across services, putting older people at risk of receiving care that is based on insufficient or incorrect information. As a result people were at risk of falling through the gaps and being supported only at crisis point if they are not able to independently navigate through different health providers.

The CQC said “substantial progress is still needed to achieve our is still needed to achieve our collective ambition for integrated care across England”.

It urged sustainability and transformation plans to address a shared understanding and delivery of integrated care. It also recommended the National Quality Board, in partnership with the National Information Board, defines outcome measures to improve evaluation of care integration.