“We welcome the Government’s new 10-year plan for the NHS, especially its focus on mental health and community care, but I would’ve liked to see more of a focus on the need for a fully integrated social care system that targets care within the community – where we can reduce the strain on primary and secondary care.
Due to underfunding and a lack of integration, we are seeing the elderly community admitted to hospital and receiving acute care, when it is not always the best solution, for both them, and for the NHS, and this is the same for many people with mental health problems.
The lack of the social care green paper, which was promised in order to set out its strategy on securing better and substantive care going forward, has once again been delayed indefinitely. This has resulted in a non-committal feeling from the government when it comes to plans to improve the service - which often feels like the underfunded and forgotten ‘sibling’ of the NHS.
In the 10-year plan, there has been little said about a provision between youth services and mental health trusts. I firmly believe that it’s important that the Government addresses how a joined-up approach with social care is needed to improve the current service for young people dealing with mental health problems in the UK. We need to build a stronger network of health and social care support from early childhood. In order for this to truly work, a smoother approach to sharing data and information about patients between healthcare and social care organisations must be implemented.
With this comes a requirement to streamline the data shared between health and social care. For mental health issues, data needs to be readily shared and a need for systems to talk to one another is vital. However, without a proper plan in place, or without the investment required for full reform, integration within these services is unlikely to happen swiftly through plans and promises alone.
Technology providers need to step up and offer better solutions to improve interoperability between NHS services, and offer that crucial joined-up approach between health care and social care.”