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Journal cover: Journal of Integrated Care

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Online from: 1996

Subject Area: Health Care Management/Healthcare

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The care trust pilgrims

Document Information:
Title:The care trust pilgrims
Author(s):Robin Miller, (Senior Fellow, based at the Health Services Management Centre, Birmingham, UK), Helen Dickinson, (Lecturer, based at the Health Services Management Centre, Birmingham, UK), Jon Glasby, (Professor of Health & Social Care, based at the Health Services Management Centre, Birmingham, UK)
Citation:Robin Miller, Helen Dickinson, Jon Glasby, (2011) "The care trust pilgrims", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 19 Iss: 4, pp.14 - 21
Keywords:Care trust, Health care, Integration, Partnerships, Social care
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/14769011111164250 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The authors would like to thank all of the participants from care trusts who agreed to be interviewed in connection with the study on which this paper is based.

Purpose – This paper seeks to reflect on English care trusts as an example of a structural approach to integration.

Design/methodology/approach – All current care trusts' chief executives were invited to participate in a semi-structured interview exploring their experiences. Themes from the interviews were combined with findings from literature and policy review.

Findings – The current care trusts can identify a number of advantages from combining health and social care into a single organisation. Equally, they also experienced many of the anticipated difficulties, and in hindsight half of those interviewed would recommend other options to achieving better integrated working. Whilst the “commissioning” function of care trusts will not survive beyond March 2013, “provider” care trusts look set to continue and indeed expand their service delivery. They will be joined both by new integrated social enterprises delivering health and social care.

Practical implications – The experiences of care trusts show the limitations of a single organisational structure as a means to achieve better integration and the impact of a changing national policy landscape on local initiatives. The findings suggest that the current legal flexibilities for integrated working should remain to enable local areas to decide how best to achieve their priorities and to realise the importance of addressing local cultural, practical and leadership issues along with structural barriers.

Originality/value – This paper provides a reflection on the ten years since the option of care trusts were available in England and adds to the current literature which focuses on individual care trusts' development and impact.

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