Good communication is essential to successful integration of health and social care

A recent article from the Guardian explores the importance of embedding solid, face to face ‘real’ communication in order that the integration of Health and Social Care thrives; “It is not enough, for instance, just to issue emails to staff. In this age of mass digital communication, staff can become desensitised to a constant bombardment of information. For communication to succeed, there needs to be reinforcement through conferences, workshops, staff meetings and supervision.” The article goes on to explore practical steps that can be taken, the role of a ‘communication champion’ in terms of both disseminating and feeding back on strengths and weaknesses and most importantly; discusses the way in which we as service providers can, and should be engaging with those who use the service, their families and indeed the public at large.

Taking this into consideration, we at Integrated Plus have been running events whereby those concerned are able to access current information directly. The team have been successful in organising events with Dudley Adult Social Care, Health Services and the Voluntary Community Sector; looking at how we can support areas including hospital discharge for example, and also how we can work together in order to bridge gaps, thus providing better all-round services.

Integrated Plus have also liaised directly with the local authority to look into partnership building in order to enable better support for older, more vulnerable groups within Dudley. It would seem therefore, and in taking the article on board, that already, much is happening within Dudley in order to get this model of working implemented. Going forward, we need to embrace the future landscape and continue to ensure that communications are palpable, whether this be through Cross Organisation Staff Meeting attendance or through supervision within partner organisations (to name but a few.)

We very much look forward to the new guide, as mentioned in the article, which will soon be published by the consortium whom are delivering the Better Care Fund Support Programme.

Terry.