Integrating Care's Question Time with Paul Corrigan

Integrating Care's Question Time with Paul Corrigan
posted 17 February 2014

The Health Service Journal recently published its list of the 100 people in the UK with the greatest influence on health policy and the NHS. We were pleased, but not surprised, to see that our colleague Professor Paul Corrigan was a new entry among them.

Paul’s career has spanned the academic, local government, national government and consultancy arenas. His personal contribution in his work with PPL and Integrating Care is, and always has been, invaluable. As one of the leading opinion formers on the integration of care services, Paul was the natural choice for authoring the ‘overarching value case’ for integrated care – a key component of the toolkit we developed with the LGA. Given his expertise, we’ve taken this opportunity to pick Paul’s brains about the current challenges and prospects for adopting a whole systems approach across the country.

Q&A:

As the move towards integrated care continues, what do you believe are the main challenges it faces?

One of the main barriers to integrated care is the passionate belief by organisations and staff in the fragmented bits of care that each of them deliver. At the moment, the hospital (for example) only feels responsible for a patient when they are within the hospital walls. But the patient’s health continues to need management when they have returned home. The current handover between these different services is very badly organised.

There are many barriers to the idea of integrated care; what catalyst is needed to make it a reality?

There are two main catalysts for change. The commissioners of care constitute the first. We would see definite progress if this group were to begin buying health and social care focused on patient outcomes, rather than on the way in which current providers deliver health care. They could, for example, tender for services for older people which have maintaining patient independence as the key outcome of the service – as opposed to buying into very different inputs such as a hip replacement or domestic help to assist with meal preparation.

The second catalyst is that of consumer demand. How do consumer/patient groups mobilise their members to demand integrated care and not to accept fragmented care? Meeting this challenge will make a significant difference to the ready implementation of an integrated model.

Who do you feel are the most important players in the journey towards integrated care and where has the idea made most progress?

Both the aforementioned groups, of commissioners and patient bodies, are key players in making integrated care a reality. Currently the concept is perhaps most progressed with patient groups. These organisations – including Macmillans Cancer Support, Diabetes UK, National Voices and Age UK – have formed the Richmond Group, which strongly advocates person-centred integrated care.  

If only one significant change towards integrated care could be implemented, what do you think it should be?

Commissioners should buy integrated care for outcomes and not fragmented inputs. One organisation already acting on that is called COBIC (Commissioning for Outcome-Based Incentivised Contracts) and more can be read on http://www.cobic.co.uk

If you’d like to read more from Paul on his radical approach to healthcare, click here