Media Release

PRESS RELEASE: Patients will continue to lose out in future NHS crises unless action taken on integrating health and social care

Leading politicians, health experts and practitioners call for urgent action on the funding and integration of health and social care in a major new essay collection, released today by think tank the Social Market Foundation (SMF).

A Problem Shared: Essays on the integration of health and social care highlights that patients will continue to lose out, and the NHS will face further crises, unless health and social care is better integrated. The essays set out ways in which the next government can integrate health and social care and provide the necessary funding post-2015 to cope with the increased pressures of an ageing population and continued public spending constraints.

Contributors include former Coalition Health Minister, Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow; former Health Secretary and Health Committee Chair, Conservative MP Stephen Dorrell; Sir John Oldham, Chair of the Independent Commission on Whole Person Care; and, Richard Bowden, Managing Director of Bupa UK.

Other expert contributions in A Problem Shared examine topics including: how integration can help the NHS adapt to challenges posed by an ageing population; provider perspectives on how to deliver patient-centred care; the potential of data and new technologies in integrated care; and, the benefits of collective- and local-commission for health and social care services.

Former Coalition Health Minister, Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP writes:

“A Fundamental Review of NHS and social care finances needs to be held after the election by the next government.”

“Only such a review will establish the scale of current and projected demand on health and social care services, and fully explore the funding challenge faced by the NHS. Without this, it is inconceivable that the next government can avoid further crises in health and care services.”

Former Health Secretary and Health Committee Chair, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, says:

“The current political consensus on health and social care integration poses both a threat and an opportunity.”

“It poses a threat because its wide use in the current political narrative around the NHS means integration risks becoming a cliché which has no real meaning. However, integration also provides a unique opportunity, as a rallying cry for reform of England’s current health and care settlement and a fundamental change in the way services are delivered.”

Chair of the Labour Party’s Commission on Whole Person Care, Sir John Oldham, comments:

“Debates about the integration of health and social care are potentially academic unless the projected deficit in funding for these services is addressed politically.”

“Taking the NHS alone, even with real terms increases and ring fencing, there will still be a deficit in 2020 equivalent to the whole of the defence budget. Political honesty is needed with the public about this challenge. Just focussing on funding for the NHS is a false reassurance; there is no point in refurbishing the house (NHS) if you don’t mend the roof (social care).”

“The solution needs reform and a rigorous drive to reduce unwarranted variation and waste in the system, but also a new compact with citizens about the scope and funding of health and social care.”

Richard Bowden, Managing Director of Bupa UK, writes:

“Making services work better for patients requires a change in culture. It needs leaders willing to try new approaches, find new partnerships across organisations and sectors, and develop new ways of working to deliver patient care. Otherwise, we will keep falling back into traditional silos and people will not get the care they need or deserve.”



  • The SMF commissioned essays from leading experts to help move the political debate around health and social care integration from ‘why’ we should integrate and on to the details of ‘how’ to implement this and ‘where’ the extra funding for NHS and care services is going to come from. The collection is part of a larger SMF project on the future of NHS and social care services in England, which will be released in March 2015.
  • Contributors of essays in A Problem Shared include:
    • Caroline Abrahams (Charity Director, Age UK)
    • Richard Bowden (Managing Director, Bupa UK)
    • Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP (Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam, former Health Minister 2010-2012)
    • Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP (Conservative MP for Charnwood, former Health Secretary 1995-1997)
    • Helena Herklots (Chief Executive, Carers UK)
    • Jeremy Hughes (Chief Executive, Alzheimer’s UK)
    • Richard Humphries (Assistant Director, King’s Fund)
    • Tim Kelsey (Director of Patient Data, NHS England)
    • Nigel Keohane (Editor and Research Director, Social Market Foundation)
    • Sir John Oldham (Chair of Independent Commission for Whole Person Care)
    • David Pearson (President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services)
  • A Problem Shared is part of a research project sponsored by Bupa UK. The SMF retains absolute editorial control over its outputs.
  • The Social Market Foundation (SMF) is a leading UK think tank established in 1989 with the aim of marrying market economies with social justice. We develop innovative ideas across a broad range of economic and social policy, taking a pro-market rather than free-market approach.


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