The King's Fund

Clinical and service integration

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  • Format: Printed copy
  • Author(s): Chris Ham, Natasha Curry
  • Publication date: 22-Nov-2010

Over the past decade a number of health policies have sought to put the patient first and to improve health outcomes. Choice and competition have been key elements of these policies, but the importance of integrated care was highlighted by Lord Darzi in the final report of the NHS Next Stage Review.

Does integration of care act as a barrier to choice and competition? This question has long been debated and highlights the complexities and nuances of the issue. The debate should be informed by evidence on the performance of integrated systems – and by greater clarity on the terminology used.

Clinical and system integration makes a significant contribution to that debate by:

  • describing integrated care and identifying the different forms it takes
  • exploring the different levels within the system at which it operates
  • setting out the evidence for the different systems.