The first seminar event which CIPFA has held jointly with the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) was, appropriately enough, a summit on integration on 30 September. It proved a great success, with 120 attending to hear an impressive line-up provide a strategic view of the issues.
There was a good deal of consensus on the nature of the financial problems facing the health and social care system (as set out in the keynote speech by King’s Fund Chief Executive Chris Ham) and on the importance of integration, but also on the unlikelihood that integration will contribute significantly to the £22bn cash savings required – it is more likely to give you better outcomes and value for the same money, judged by experience to date.
As Bob Alexander (Chief Executive of the TDA and chair of CIPFA’s Health Panel) memorably put the limitation ‘two turkeys don’t make an eagle’. Terry Willows, from the DH’s Better Care Fund task force, gave a helpful pre-settlement view of how the BCF was developing, and delegates welcomed him giving the first public indication that there will definitely be a BCF in the next two years.
If there is agreement on what the aims should be, then there still remains the tricky matter of how best to set about achieving them, and that was where comprehensive presentations from Greater Manchester and Staffordshire were valuable. They gave a real insight into what frameworks and actions are needed locally to position integration within the broader contexts of devolution and preventative investment designed to reduce upstream care costs. The DH Director General for Social Care, Jon Rouse, then emphasised the compatibility of personalised approaches with all that had been said.