Most patients tend not to think about who provides their healthcare, with most people thinking of the NHS as one organisation - which is the way it should be.

Whether in hospital, in the community or at home, healthcare should feel joined-up at every stage of the patient’s journey.

In reality, this is not always the case and, over the last decade, the NHS has become larger and more complicated.

Patients often receive healthcare from lots of different organisations at the same time - in Swindon, this could include Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, local GP practices, pharmacies, dentists and organisations, such as Prospect Hospice.

Many patients will also come into contact will others who play an important role in their care, with social care workers, nursing or residential homes and charities all contributing to the care people receive day-to-day.

But as a growing and ageing population, with diverse and complex needs, it’s not uncommon for a person with multiple long-term health conditions to be looked after by half a dozen different health and social care professionals.

It’s therefore important that all these health and social care professionals work together more closely.

The NHS in Swindon is already starting to make changes behind the scenes so that the care provided feels more joined-up at every stage of the patient’s journey.

This work is a big priority, as integrated care will provide a better experience for patients and their families and a more rewarding working life for staff.

This animation by NHS England explains the challenges facing health and care organisations, and how closer partnerships are being formed to integrate care and better meet health and social care needs now and in the future. 

 

The benefits of integrated care

Accessing the right care should be straightforward, with local people being able to get the help they need and without delay from the most appropriate professional every time.

Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen, and people are often left explaining their story multiple times to different professionals and waiting longer than necessary for care to be arranged.

Removing organisational barriers, improving communication and working together to plan, finance and provide services should help to prevent these types of frustrations and delays. 

It makes sense that more integration between GP practices, community services, hospitals and social care should mean a more positive experience for all. 

An integrated approach to care also means there will be more opportunities to help people stay healthy, do more to keep long-term conditions, such as diabetes, under control and prevent ill health in the first place.

This short video by the Kings Fund shows what integrated care will mean for patients. 

 

Organisations working together to provide integrated care

  • Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Swindon Borough Council 
  • Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group 
  • South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust 
  • Medvivo 
  • Prospect Hospice

More local organisations are expected to come on board with providing integrated care in the future.