Interprofessional Collaboration: From Policy to Practice in Health and Social Care

Interprofessional Collaboration: From Policy to Practice in Health and Social Care

Interprofessional Collaboration: From Policy to Practice in Health and Social Care

Interprofessional Collaboration: From Policy to Practice in Health and Social Care

Synopsis

Interprofessional collaboration in the health & social care services has become a commanding force, spear-headed by the government's modernisation programme to improve partnership. This book confirms the benefits of collaboration through theoretical models illustrated with case studies.

Excerpt

This symposium reviews the difficult process of change towards partnership, coordination and maximum collaboration between professions and agencies in health and social services. The change is inevitable, if only because of the increasing capability, complexity and cost of the services, alongside the needs and developing expectations of patients, clients and carers. The alternative is confusion, duplication and inefficiency. But it is difficult for most of us to escape from tradition and adapt to change. It is difficult also to tolerate different beliefs and values, whether in other people or other institutions-especially difficult when professional traditions and boundaries are under attack, when professional people are under unusual pressure through shortages and when policy-makers, in a hurry, harass those who have to carry out their next policy before the last one has been evaluated (a 'policy onslaught', as one contributor describes it, 'a systematic attempt, perhaps without parallel in a modern democratic state, to re-frame fundamentally the activities and attitudes of all the participants in a major public institution').

Faced by these challenges, how can this book help? It is concerned particularly with the ways, positive and negative, in which policies influence collaborative practice and teamwork. It offers theoretical models and illustrates them with existing examples, for instance in primary health care or in services for older people or in partnership with patients-successes to emulate and failures from which to learn. It is good that some chapters are from other countries; the problems are international.

Teamwork depends greatly on the wider context in which it is developed. Government and management polices are among the strongest determinants-they foster it or undermine it. As different writers analyse examples, the benefits of collaboration and the effectiveness of teamwork for patients/ clients and carers are repeatedly confirmed, far outweighing any ill effects. Confirmed also are the benefits to trained professionals-shared knowledge and resources, widened perspectives, a more satisfying and supportive work environment, maximal opportunities for specialist skills. It is naive to think that these benefits will ensue without prior organisation and interprofessional education. Examples in this book confirm the depth of ignorance and the

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