The Healthcare Show, part of Health+Care, stands out as being one of few events that does bring health and social care together on an equal footing to share solutions to joint challenges.
With adult social care at breaking point, it is clear that the NHS long-term plan will fail without this crisis being properly addressed. Short-term funding measures will not be enough to stop difficulties in social care driving demand for the NHS. The long-awaiting adult social care Green Paper will propose long-term funding solutions but how quickly they will be funded and acted on is the crucial question. There is also a Green Paper on prevention in the pipeline for 2019.
The NHS plan is likely to include a timeline for accelerating the development of Integrated Care Systems across England. The ultimate purpose of ICSs is to tackle health inequalities and improve the health and wellness of entire populations by joining up the NHS, social care, public health and the wider public, voluntary and community sector. Through doing this there is an opportunity to impact the wider determinants of health, identify interventions that will have the greatest health gain for the many and invest public money accordingly. Whether the choice is between investing more in bariatric surgery, tier 2 weight management services or a new public park, this is a system-wide choice to make, backed up by robust population health data.
The ultimate vision of ICSs is at risk through chronic underfunding of public health and other local government services. Relationships between health and local government even within established ICSs can be fragile as demonstrated by Nottinghamshire City Council suspending its involvement in Nottinghamshire and Nottingham ICS. It is imperative that health and local government set aside cultural differences to make this work.