Creating a sustainable future for health and social care

Patients, carers, health and social care professionals and academics from across the region have gathered at Sheffield Hallam University to discuss the impact new integrated care systems will have on local Trusts and the people they care for.

To provide integrated services, staff within health and social care systems, such as nursing, physiotherapy and social work, need to understanding more about how each other work to enable better, joined up care – making it more effective for the patient and more efficient for the NHS and other providers.

The introduction of integrated care within the England’s health and social care system has been deemed may be the ‘largest and most radical strategic reform in the history of the health and social care’ and formed the main topic of discussion at the Integrated Care for All conference, delivered by Sheffield Hallam.

On Tuesday (18 September), the University welcomed key figures within the health sector, who included; Jacqui White, director of national system transformation at NHS England as well as Sir Chris Ham, chief executive of The Kings Fund and Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive of South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, who outlined the national vision for integrated care and provided examples of how it is currently working in areas across the country.

In February 2015, NHS organisations and local authorities in Greater Manchester signed a landmark devolution agreement with the government to take charge of health and social care spending and decisions in the city region. Preparation for the rollout of integrated care systems in other pilot areas began in autumn 2016 and saw NHS organisations, in partnership with local councils and other providers and stakeholders take collective responsibility for managing resources and improving the health and care of the populations they serve.

In response to these reforms, Sheffield Hallam is preparing to launch one of the biggest integrated care curriculums to all pre-registration healthcare students.

The University is the largest provider of health and social care education in England.

With courses covering all aspects of healthcare including: nursing, midwifery, allied health, social work and sport, its curriculum creates the skilled workforce the NHS needs to deliver better long-term health outcomes for the nation. The University’s Centre for Leadership in Health and Social Care also works with health professionals and managers at all level to develop their leadership capabilities.

The Integrated Care Curriculum will see students studying for all nursing, allied health and social work professional qualifications learning with, from and about other professionals throughout their studies. The aim of this innovative approach is to develop the integrated working skills amongst the biggest range of health and social care students and newly qualified professionals.

It will create a confident graduate workforce that can work in integrated services with a strong professional identity and will allow them to innovate and collaborate in partnership with patients, carers and other health professionals, to meet their health and social care needs.

Professor Chris Ham, chief executive officer of The Kings Fund, said: “Sheffield Hallam has an important role to play in training the workforce we need now and in the future.

“We need staff who are trained to respond to the growing needs of the population and that means working much more in teams and breaking down some of the barriers and the silos between different professions and engaging patients and service users much more directly.”

Dr Tony Smith, senior lecturer in leadership and organisation development in Sheffield Hallam’s Centre for Leadership in Health and Social Care, organised the conference and said: “There is the potential for system-wide change that will radically improve health and social care delivery but there are also risks and controversies and this conference is all about how we can understand the vision and implications of integrated care systems on our local areas.

“Taking advantage of our unique position as one of the largest health and social care training providers in the country, we are creating innovative and impactful learning experiences that allow us to bring integrated ways of working to life in the classroom, so learning happens across a full range of health, social care and wellbeing professions. This helps to develop students’ understanding about the different contributions professionals make to the care of patients, their families and our communities.”