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NHS People Plan pledges ‘much stronger links’ with social care

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An interim report by the NHS has pledged to establish “much stronger links” between health and social care.

In its Interim NHS People Plan, the NHS said it will aim to increase clinical placement capacity in primary and social care settings.

“Integration of primary care and community health services will mean that staff are working in different ways, with a greater focus on preventative care and much stronger links between health and social care,” the report said.

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“There will be new roles and significant changes to existing roles, requiring an increase in data science and digital skills, as technology and scientific innovation transform care pathways and clinical practice, and enable more efficient ways of working.”

The report also cites the NHS Long Term Plan which includes a £4.5bn investment in expanding multidisciplinary teams aligned with new primary care networks.

These expanded teams will include GPs, clinical pharmacists, district nurses, community geriatricians, paramedics, physiotherapists, physician associates, podiatrists and social prescribers, together with social care and voluntary sector staff.

Responding to the report, Skills for Care interim CEO Andy Tilden: “We welcome the report’s very clear commitment to working with the 21,200 organisations who offer social care in England that employ 1.47 million people who will all want to play a key role in helping deliver the ambitious themes in this report

“It is clear from our experience that building sustainable relationships between social care and health professionals and our fellow citizens is the key to delivering the sort of 21st century care we all want to be able to access when it is needed. Around 42,000 nurses work in community and social care settings and we’re pleased to see this is recognised in this report. We look forward to working with NHS colleagues and other partners to deliver the support and development opportunities the workforce in social care and health need.”

Niall Dickson, CEO of the NHS Confederation also welcomed the report, but called for greater investment.

“Our verdict – this is welcome but an effective workforce strategy will need investment. This will need to be delivered in the next spending review. We are delighted the plan responds so positively to our call for a much greater role for local leaders in workforce development,” he said.

The Confederation is leading a coalition of 15 health organisations calling for a sustainable social care system and will continue to campaign for this to be addressed in the forthcoming spending review.

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Sarah Clarke

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