Bringing integration home: policy on health and social care integration in the four nations of the UK

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Abstract

Purpose – The paper outlines relevant policies on the integration of health and social care in the four home nations: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. The aim of the paper is to offer a comparison of emphasis and approaches and draw out general insights on the implementation of integrated care policy. Design/ Methodology/Approach – The paper is written as a piece of critical reflection by drawing on the authors’ knowledge and expertise and wider evidence where available. Findings – Since 2010 health and social care integration has started to diverge significantly in the four constituent countries of the UK. Although England and Wales have undergone considerable reorganisation of the NHS, Scotland and Northern Ireland have largely been marked by organisational continuity. However, beyond organisational differences, policy approaches, policy emphases and implementation strategies have also started to show considerable dissimilarity across the UK. An important contributory factor may be different ideological perspectives on the role of competition and pilots, partnership, patient choice and organisational incentives to bring about change in the field. Research implications – The paper identifies a serious lack of comparative research in integration policy, despite the considerable opportunities for quasiexperimental studies. This lack of empirical research impedes shared learning across the home nations. Originality – The paper presents a descriptive comparison of current integration policy between health and social care providers in the four home nations. It reveals considerable opportunities for further research and comparative modelling of integration approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalJournal of Integrated Care
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Mar 2017

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