In a joint report, the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust said integrated care is essential if the NHS is to meet the needs of an ageing population and patients with long-term conditions.
The report called on the government to set a clear, ambitious and measurable goal to improve the experience of patients needing co-ordinated care, which should be delivered by a defined date.
It added that the financial incentives in the NHS must be reforms to reward good outcomes for patients rather than encouraging admissions to hospitals.
King’s Fund chief executive Chris Ham said integrated care can be delivered without further legislative change or structural upheaval.
‘It is time to move from pockets of good practice to ensure it is a must do priority and make it the core business of everyone involved in health and social care,’ he said.
Nuffield Trust director Dr Jennifer Dixon added: ‘Let’s make integrated care real for patients, particularly older people – it is about time.
‘The DoH can create an environment in which integrated care can flourish - this is less about extra spending and more about removing rigidities in the system and encouraging creativity. If not now, then when?’