Towards whole person care

Published Mon 2 Dec 2013
This paper reviews the case for change in the English health and care system and considers how to move towards a 'whole person care' approach. It sets out broad themes that we intend to return to in IPPR's wider work on creating a health and care system that is fit for the future.

The shadow secretary of state for health, Andy Burnham MP, has called for reform to England's health and care system to deliver 'whole person care'. There are two core elements to this vision: making the connections between physical health, mental health and social care needs, and supporting people to remain in their own homes as long as they wish. The intention is both to improve outcomes and to deliver better value for the money we spend on health and social care.

As more and more people live for decades with long-term conditions like diabetes and heart disease, the vast majority of their treatment is self-care at home. Moving towards whole person care must start with the person not the system, and focus on delivering humanised, flexible care that can tackle issues like loneliness as well as medical needs.

We recommend that a number of person-centred guarantees are at the heart of the vision for whole person care, focused on people with long-term conditions and older people:

  • a single point of contact for all care needs
  • access to other people with the same condition who can provide peer support
  • online access to personal health and care records and the ability to share these
  • a personalised care plan covering health and social care
  • the option of a personal budget, where this is helpful.
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