The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust’s paper to the Department of Health and the NHS Future Forum titled ‘Integrated care for patients and populations: Improving outcomes by working together’ makes encouraging reading reflecting increasing evidence of a maturing attitude towards choice.
Here they recognise that choice should be intrinsic to the provision of care. However, they have reflected that we need to move from simply offering a number of providers to the patient and towards using choice as a way of facilitating better outcomes, more innovative ways of working and how this can be integrated through the entire patient pathway.
To facilitate this they righty suggest in my view a single assessment process covering all patient needs within health and social care. Each patient will be the centre of his or her own array of care that will be unique to them with budgets to match centred on the wellness of that individual. Choice in this world will encourage innovation and put the patient at the heart of matters but it will require us to think differently about targets and performance. Here, there is less ability to simply aggregate activity to form an overarching commentary on health. This may be unsettling for many existing providers and funders, but we should not lose sight of the potential benefits on offer to all.