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Editorial

Editorial Peter Thistlethwaite EDITOR The discipline of integrated care is being fashioned in not enthusiastically pursued, partnerships do not all sorts of settings across the developed world, and this necessarily over-ride existing divisions. journal has actively sought a suitably matching variety But there is one other peculiarly British aspect to of content. Our first article in this Issue is particularly this: the position of social work as a profession. It is welcome therefore, being rooted in children’s services, often a surprise to health service professionals and having a distinctly empowering and community-based managers that there has been no formal regulation approach, and yet focusing on the challenges of future of the social work profession to compare, say, with professional practice - three aspects of integrated care the allied health professions like occupational that are so often neglected and rarely put together. On therapy and physiotherapy. One consequence has the assumption that a good proportion of our readers been the demoralisation of social workers during are involved principally in adult services, this article the recent managerialist decades. The number of provides a wholly different take on the current scene, applications for training has also fallen and some with consequently rich opportunities for learning from courses have closed. The Government has tried to its analysis. stem the tide by trying to promote a new image for Anne Edwards reflects in this article on the idea the profession in recruitment drives, and, of distributed professional expertise and argues not significantly, has legislated to establish a regulator, only for bringing this together for the benefit of the General Social Care Council. The response to users, but also for the mind shift required by this from existing practitioners has been pitiful. practitioners to operate effectively in a definable Only a small proportion have so far joined the network. In particular she proposes that provision register, and many are being prevented from doing needs to be co-constructed not only by professionals so by a ritual dispute about whether individuals or acting together, but also with clients themselves. This their employers should pay the fee. It looks like resonates with ideas now familiar in the world of another episode of social work shooting itself in the adult services, and the prospect of more effective, foot. and more satisfying, professional practice is held out. Historically, and paradoxically, the near- She is clear that ‘learning is a matter of enhancing monopoly position of social services departments as one’s expertise and working with others, rather than employers has stunted social work professionalism, losing it and turning into the de-skilled all-purpose not safeguarded it. It seems to me that the social multi-agency practitioner’. work profession needs now to wake up to the The reality on the ground has for a while been that potential benefits of integration into a wider world some professionals do fear losing their role in a multi- where professional identity is more respected and agency setting, or being required to undertake the where alliances with similar professions could help menial tasks of other professionals; such feelings will take forward the agenda set out in our first article. surely guarantee continuing resistance to integration. This other way - embracing the fusion of social Leaders of organisations cannot be relied upon to services into new organisations - requires the will to create the climate where constructive renegotiation be a profession at whatever initial cost, and can take place. Primary health care will hold on to its confidence in distinctive professional skills to be independent status, merged bodies like care trusts are used in the networks of the future. 2 Journal of Integrated Care Volume 12 • Issue 5 • October 2004 © Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Integrated Care Emerald Publishing

Editorial

Journal of Integrated Care , Volume 12 (5): 1 – Oct 1, 2004

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1476-9018
DOI
10.1108/14769018200400032
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Peter Thistlethwaite EDITOR The discipline of integrated care is being fashioned in not enthusiastically pursued, partnerships do not all sorts of settings across the developed world, and this necessarily over-ride existing divisions. journal has actively sought a suitably matching variety But there is one other peculiarly British aspect to of content. Our first article in this Issue is particularly this: the position of social work as a profession. It is welcome therefore, being rooted in children’s services, often a surprise to health service professionals and having a distinctly empowering and community-based managers that there has been no formal regulation approach, and yet focusing on the challenges of future of the social work profession to compare, say, with professional practice - three aspects of integrated care the allied health professions like occupational that are so often neglected and rarely put together. On therapy and physiotherapy. One consequence has the assumption that a good proportion of our readers been the demoralisation of social workers during are involved principally in adult services, this article the recent managerialist decades. The number of provides a wholly different take on the current scene, applications for training has also fallen and some with consequently rich opportunities for learning from courses have closed. The Government has tried to its analysis. stem the tide by trying to promote a new image for Anne Edwards reflects in this article on the idea the profession in recruitment drives, and, of distributed professional expertise and argues not significantly, has legislated to establish a regulator, only for bringing this together for the benefit of the General Social Care Council. The response to users, but also for the mind shift required by this from existing practitioners has been pitiful. practitioners to operate effectively in a definable Only a small proportion have so far joined the network. In particular she proposes that provision register, and many are being prevented from doing needs to be co-constructed not only by professionals so by a ritual dispute about whether individuals or acting together, but also with clients themselves. This their employers should pay the fee. It looks like resonates with ideas now familiar in the world of another episode of social work shooting itself in the adult services, and the prospect of more effective, foot. and more satisfying, professional practice is held out. Historically, and paradoxically, the near- She is clear that ‘learning is a matter of enhancing monopoly position of social services departments as one’s expertise and working with others, rather than employers has stunted social work professionalism, losing it and turning into the de-skilled all-purpose not safeguarded it. It seems to me that the social multi-agency practitioner’. work profession needs now to wake up to the The reality on the ground has for a while been that potential benefits of integration into a wider world some professionals do fear losing their role in a multi- where professional identity is more respected and agency setting, or being required to undertake the where alliances with similar professions could help menial tasks of other professionals; such feelings will take forward the agenda set out in our first article. surely guarantee continuing resistance to integration. This other way - embracing the fusion of social Leaders of organisations cannot be relied upon to services into new organisations - requires the will to create the climate where constructive renegotiation be a profession at whatever initial cost, and can take place. Primary health care will hold on to its confidence in distinctive professional skills to be independent status, merged bodies like care trusts are used in the networks of the future. 2 Journal of Integrated Care Volume 12 • Issue 5 • October 2004 © Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd

Journal

Journal of Integrated CareEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 1, 2004

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