In this interview Professor Steve Field, Chair of the NHS Future Forum, talks to Elizabeth Eastmure of the Nuffield Trust about the role of the Forum in developing a more integrated health system, and the challenge of commissioning more joined-up and efficient services.
Professor Field provides an overview of the first phase of work carried out by the NHS Future Forum, which highlighted the fragmented nature of the health system, and outlines the next phase of work which will focus on how to develop a system that is better integrated around the needs of patients.
He reflects on the type of integration he believes patients and the public would like to see, and considers some of the potential barriers to the commissioning of more integrated care, highlighting the culture change that is needed to allow for better communication between health and social care professionals and managers.
Giving an overview of some existing examples of commissioning integrated care in the NHS, Professor Field emphasises the role the regulator, Monitor, and the NHS Commissioning Board will need to play in encouraging innovation and allowing commissioning groups to take risks in order to develop services that are better focused on patient needs and outcomes.
He also considers how commissioners can take the views of patients and the public into account and engage with the most vulnerable people in society to inform decisions around service design.
Professor Field spoke at the Nuffield Trust event: Incentivising integrated care: what role for commissioners? in September 2011.
Visit the Nuffield Trust website for further details about our work in this area: nuffieldtrust.org.uk