More on health and social care

A second brief post, now that Andy Burnham (Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary) has delivered the speech I heard mention of earlier today. I’ve found this version on the Labour Party’s website, and also this response from Chris Ham at the King’s Fund.

It’s interesting, and bold in places, and there’ll be more on the way as this is the start of a major Labour Party policy review. I see that Andy Burnham describes the mental health system as being quite separate from the system of social care, and from the system providing care for people with physical conditions. I also see that, in England, a future Labour government would seek ways of improving integration and coordination without imposing a further round of top-down structural change. I guess there might be different ideas about what counts as ‘structural change’, as some of what is proposed here is pretty radical: single points of access for all care, single budgets for all services provided, just one body (the NHS) providing ‘whole person care’. And whilst I like what I’m reading, I’m also aware that there are no ‘final fixes’ for the challenges facing public services. Change, even that which is driven by laudable ideas like promoting integration, can trigger unintended as well as desired consequences, and solve problems in one place only to create new problems elsewhere. Which takes me back to wicked problems and complex systems

Here’s to hearing the next, more detailed instalments: and indeed, any initial response from within Wales where responsibility for health and social care is a matter for the devolved Government.


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