Peter Thistlethwaite Editor Is the NHS inadvertently rebuilding the Berlin Wall between itself and local authority social care? This seems to be the shocking risk in the recent NHS guidance on Transforming Community Services (TCS). As I write at the end of March, the deadline for PCT proposals for their provider services is looming, and it appears that the only practical option in many places will be to merge community health services with an existing NHS foundation trust. This timescale seems to squeeze out innovative options which would take more time to develop. The power in the rhetoric is vertical integration, which has been discussed in the pages of this Journal many times, and is not in itself a bad thing. In fact the two articles included in this Issue (Mitchell et al and Wade) on the nature of the hospital discharge process and the wastefulness of not engaging constructively with it reaffirm why the hospital/ community interface cannot be ignored. There are nevertheless fears inside the NHS about all this, reflected in an article in The Guardian on March 24 by its public services editor, David Brindle. Supporters of vertical integration argue that it would create a
Journal of Integrated Care – Pier Professional
Published: Jun 1, 2010
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