Joining up health and social care: improving value for money across the interface

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Audit Commission for Local Authorities and the National Health Service in England
Audit Commission
Date of publication
1 December 2011
Health Services, Social Work, Social Care and Social Services
Social welfare
Material type

Download (4MB )

The NHS and councils need to make significant savings over the next three years. Integrated working across health and social care offers opportunities for efficiencies and improvements to services. This briefing focuses on older people with one or more long-term conditions, and is aimed at commissioners of health and social care, and the emerging health and wellbeing boards and clinical commissioning groups proposed in the Health and Social Care Bill. It sets out the potential areas for local action; the questions local commissioners should ask themselves and the evidence that may help find answers; potential indicators for identifying areas for improvement and for tracking progress; and what the national data suggests in these key areas. The proposed new health and wellbeing boards will have a strategic role to play in providing leadership and building the local picture. Without integrated working there is a risk of duplication and cost-shunting where savings made by one organisation or sector create costs for others, and people are less likely to receive the best care.

Partnerships should use existing data sets to identify areas for joint action and to track progress. These include emergency admissions to hospital for people aged 65 and over; emergency bed days for people aged 65 and over; admissions to residential or nursing care direct from hospital; and the numbers of people dying at home.

The briefing estimates that primary care trusts could save £132 million a year if all the areas with high emergency admissions, after taking account of their population's characteristics, reduced activity to match the current national average.

Case studies show how some areas have embraced partnership working and used local data and benchmarking to establish how and where to make improvements. NHS and social care partnerships can benchmark their performance against others by using the tool that accompanies the briefing.