By Christian Duffin
The Department of Health is expanding its network of integrated care pilots and wants more GPs to come forward to work with other health and social care professionals.
Sixteen pilot sites are already under way – focusing on areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and co-ordinating end-of-life care – and now the DH wants to widen out the scheme. Ministers are particularly interested in piloting children's services. In the pilots, GPs work with care homes, social services, acute trusts and charities to improve patient care.
The DH website says: ‘The most ambitious (new) projects will not just be looking at integration within health services and with social care, but might also incorporate other sectors such as education, criminal justice and housing.'
The DH has not finished evaluating the performance of the first wave pilots, but wants to set up more because of the ‘positive response' so far.
The pilots started last April and are due to run for two years. The NHS Alliance has concerns, however, that integrating services in this way could impact on GPs' roles as independent advocates for patients.
See www.dh.gov.uk for details on applying for pilot status.