Putting integrated care into practice: the North West London practice

integrated-care-north-west-london-experience_0 (1)Today the Nuffield Trust and London School of Economics (LSE) publish a report evaluating the early stages of North West London’s Whole Systems Integrated Care (WSIC) programme.  The WSIC programme formed in 2013, when clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local authorities from across North West London joined with health, social care and other partners to form an alliance intended to drive the development and implementation of a large-scale programme of integrated care. The programme covers the care needs of people in eight London boroughs: Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, and the City of Westminster. This programme is the largest of the 14 integrated care pioneers launched by the Coalition Government in 2013 to remove barriers to integrated care and enable it to be extended ‘at scale and pace’.

The report, which was commissioned by Imperial College Health Partners, evaluates the programme’s early stages from February 2014 to late April 2015, providing independent assessment of the initial processes and progress to date. The evaluation was formative in nature, providing feedback and challenge as part of the programme’s commitment to adaptive learning. The evaluation does not aim to draw a verdict on the success of integrated care and the impact on care services in North West London, but rather to assess and provide feedback on the approach to designing an integrated care programme.

The report found that the programme is ambitious and well-resourced through funding from the pooled budgets of the North West London Collaboration of CCGs. As a result, it has been able to make significant investments in co-design and planning, before developing pilot schemes, known as ‘early adopters’.

However, the programme was more than a year behind schedule when the evaluation ended and it had yet to deliver significant service change. The findings therefore reveal valuable lessons for other policy-makers and practitioners leading integrated care schemes, namely in the challenges of moving from planning and design to delivering service change.

To read the full report, visit the Nuffield Trust website.