How the integrating care system works in practice for NHS patients.

The IPC, or Integrated Personal Commissioning initiative, is the future of health and social care in the UK. In practice, it means a seamless approach across services to provide connected and customised healthcare for all in a modernised and responsive NHS.


Choice and flexibility

Hampshire is currently acting as a pioneer for this innovative new approach. Personal budgets for health and social care are at the heart of this programme, which will ensure that service users gain access to care that is designed with themselves and their families at the heart of the process.

Personal budgets will bridge the bureaucratic boundaries between health and social care, voluntary services and community resources. The impact of this will be great, affecting clinical staffing, medical training and the infrastructure of not only the NHS but also community learning disability and mental health services. See the NHS website for a detailed explanation of the changes afoot.

Person-centred care for those with complex needs

One of the main ways the IPC initiatives will impact and improve upon existing healthcare models is that the voluntary sector will be drafted in as an intermediary that can think outside the traditional boxes of the health and social care system. It will be able to ask challenging questions that will demand flexibility and creativity in designing tailored packages of care for people whose needs span several different services. Personal healthcare budgets will demand a truly responsive and efficient NHS, and this will filter down to the level of recruitment planning. Businesses and agencies also have a role to play in transforming the way that the healthcare industry operates, with companies like leading the way when it comes to providing professional expertise and filling vacancies with talented people.

Jo Hooper, operations manager for Hampshire’s IPC, has explained the difference between the new and the old system best. She commented that the new system designs its services by starting with the factors that define what a “good day” looks like for each service user. This individualised approach contrasts with the old system, which sees itself as the “great rescuer”, a paternalistic attitude that wastes money and resources commissioning unnecessary services that are often ineffective at meeting individual needs. Now, instead of imposing what the system thinks is best, people will be able to decide for themselves.