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Knowing me, knowing you: Inter-professional working between general practice and social care

Catherine Mangan (University of Birmingham)
Robin Miller (HSMC, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Carol Ward (Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 20 April 2015




The purpose of this paper is to report on the findings of the first stage of a project seeking to improve interprofessional working between general practice and adult social care teams. It develops the current evidence base through findings from focus groups and reflects on the implications of the findings for interprofessional collaboration.


The project involved running seven focus groups with general practice staff and adult social work teams to explore their perceptions and understanding of each other.


The focus groups highlighted that the negative aspects of interprofessional working outweighed the positives. Negatives included perceptions of different value bases, a lack of knowledge about each others’ roles and responsibilities which resulted in resorting to stereotypes, poor interprofessional communication and a sense of an unspoken professional hierarchy with general practitioners (GPs) at the top leading preventing a culture of appropriate challenge.

Research limitations/implications

The research has only been conducted with four GP practices and three social work teams that had expressed an interest in improving their interprofessional working. Therefore the findings may not be generalisable.

Practical implications

The case study suggests that there is a lack of effective interprofessional working between social care teams and general practice. With the current health and social care agenda focused on integration, this suggests there should be a greater focus on this area.


This paper illustrates that despite many years of policy makers promoting better integration, the quality of the interprofessional collaboration between social care teams and general practice remains poor.



Mangan, C., Miller, R. and Ward, C. (2015), "Knowing me, knowing you: Inter-professional working between general practice and social care", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 62-73.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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