Party leader Ed Miliband will announce an inquiry to examine how best to bring two services together, in order to save money and deliver “whole-person care”.

Labour has set up a commission to examine how best to integrate health and social care services in England.

Party leader Ed Miliband will announce the inquiry today in his speech in Chorley, three months after shadow health secretary Alan Burnham put forward radical plans to merge the two services for consideration in a six-month policy review.  This now looks set to be superceded by the commission on whole person care, which will be chaired by John Oldham, a GP and former national clinical lead for quality and productivity at the Department of Health.

In his speech in January, Burnham made the case for full integration on the grounds that it would deliver whole-person care to people with long-term conditions, meeting their mental, physical and social care needs, and that it would save money across the two services.

He also suggested that in future, new health and well-being boards, which sit within local authorities, should commission all health and social care, and that NHS trusts should be responsible for delivering social care as well as hospital care. This would most likely involve trusts sub-contracting work to existing independent sector care providers.

Home Care Direct will be interested to see how this plans pan out, and with the changes within the NHS with the new roles of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) it should be an interesting time for bringing social and health care together and the true integration of services. If you’d like to share your thoughts with us, please get in touch with us here.