Integrated care pilots launched

The first pilots of integrated care organisations, merging health and social care, were launched last week.

The 16 pilot projects are expected to cost £4 million and will involve collaborations between GP practices, trusts, private providers, social services and charities to respond to a specific local health need.

One pilot, in Sunderland, involves GPs working with acute trusts to reduce admissions in patients with long-term conditions.

Most of the schemes aim to improve coordination of services for the elderly and chronically ill. The pilots will also target substance misuse, COPD, end-of-life care and cardiovascular disease.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said patients with long-term conditions were often frequent users of social care, and links with health services were vital. 'That way, people will get the integrated health and social care they need, all in one place.'

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