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Nurse talking to mother with baby in clinic

Integration of health and social care

Nursing staff are integral to the success of changes to health and social care services in England. It is therefore vital that you are aware of how plans for delivering integrated care are progressing at local and regional levels.

These pages have been designed to help you understand how health and social care delivery is changing in England. You can use these pages to demonstrate what you know, and as part of revalidation against all elements of The Code.

Integrating health and social care

The strategic plan for health and care delivery in England is outlined in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View.

The aim is to shift the focus away from ill health, disease and illness led services to focus on promoting health and wellbeing and preventing ill health. Health care, social care, independent, voluntary and charitable sectors all need to collaborate with each other to improve the overall health of the local populations they serve.

Health and care services are faced with reduced funds alongside an increasing population who are living longer with complex care needs and high expectations of their care provision. These challenges have prompted a different approach to delivering health care and a need for system changes:

  • Collaboration across organisations to tackle system-wide challenges with the creation of Sustainability and Transformation Plans/Partnerships (STPs) and Accountable Care Systems and or Organisations
  • Developing a place-based approach to care by alignment of services to meet the needs of a population or community. Joining up public funding through ‘place-based’ commissioning of health care alongside other services – for example, education and or leisure services 
  • Unlocking different ways of working together - New care models (NCMs)
  • Empowering patients through personal health budgets (PHB)
  • Ensuring the workforce is able to meet the needs of the health and social care system, with the right number of staff at the right time and in the right place.

Understanding the NHS

Understanding the system

The NHS in England is complex with various streams of funding and providers of care. This overview helps explain the system.
Place based care

Care closer to home

Devolving power and responsibility about health and social care to local areas.
New models of care

New models of care

New ways of delivering health and social care at a local level.
Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs)


Plans that deliver the aims of the Five Year Forward View in different localities.

RCN support and information

The RCN toolkit for nursing leaders is designed to support nurses in providing confident nursing leadership to shape, deliver and monitor quality and safe integrated services. 

RCN professional services have information on; leadership programmes; accreditation and credentialing alongside revalidation advice and support.

The RCN Clinical governance pages highlight what to look for and the questions to ask to ensure there a good clinical governance and care systems in place when new plans are developed locally.