Health and social care is the term used to describe the support, help and services available for those who need them. This includes people who have disabilities or illness, such as dementia or mental health problems, the elderly or the homeless. It also includes those who need a great deal of support, such as people who are living alone, those who need nursing home care and people who need to be taken to hospital regularly for medical treatment.

A large part of the work of health and social care professionals is about promoting independence. This can involve advice and the supply of equipment, but it can also include making adaptations to a person’s home. It is important for those who are working in this field to be able to understand the range of ethical issues that can arise in their day-to-day practice, such as the right to confidentiality, privacy and the exercise of personal choice.

The need for integrated health and social care is long-standing and national policies have catalysed initiatives to test new models of integration. However, barriers remain, including differences in governance, organisation and culture between NHS organisations and local authorities and between service providers and the general public. The focus should be on building effective partnerships, enabling shared ownership of outcomes and investment in key enablers to improve quality. health and social care

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