The listening exercise

first published 18th August 2011

Welcome to this, my first posting from the Centre for Better Managed Health and Social Care.

David Cameron has announced the addition of Integration as a fourth strand to the continuation of the  listening exercise and the work of the Future Forum.  Much of the Centre’s work to date has focused on the need to reduce the artificial boundaries which exist throughout the care system.

Our emphasis on the Interdisciplinary aspects of care demands that the professional boundaries be peeled away – there is so much evidence that diversity in its widest sense yields better solutions to problems, with stronger engagement and ownership of the solutions when there has been clear consideration of different perspectives.

Our emphasis on treating health and social care, not as different domains, but as different contributors within a whole care ecosystem demands that sectoral boundaries are overcome, so that the process of care is not fragmented, and the journey of care is seamless.

Our emphasis on new styles of leadership and governance demands that there is a renewed sense of clarity of purpose, constructive partnerships and greater transparency.  Only with these in place can incentives be properly aligned throughout the system, instead of pulling in opposite directions and reinforcing individual fiefdoms.  Only when freedoms and accountabilities are held clearly in balance with each other, will appropriately judged risk-taking foster the combination of innovation and quality by which most other industries have been shaped.

Let us now invest serious energies in nurturing meaningful integration, not because it is declared as policy, but because it is owned and understood to be the best way to ensure that each service user is placed at the centre of the entire care ecosystem at their moment of need.  When these social principles of putting the needs of each service user first are partnered with the entrepreneurial spirit which simply won’t accept that today’s solution is good enough, then we might be able to forge ahead, sweeping aside much of the polemic which currently polarises debate and stagnates progress.