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It was people that brought down the Berlin Wall – not process

Jim Thomas (Skills for Care, Leeds, UK)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 16 February 2015




Integrating services does not necessarily lead to improved outcomes for people with care and support needs and fails to address the need for workforce integration. Workforce integration requires different professional groups to give up personal power, put the people they are supporting ahead of entrenched professional rivalries and be versatile not flexible in how they work. Integration is not important to people with care and support needs, unless it makes a difference to their ability to lead an independent life. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


A personal opinion piece based on learning from the development of principles for workforce integration with social care and health employers.


Integration takes time and there is no quick fix or magic solution, but it can happen. People's behaviour and motivations are complex, confusing and often inconsistent, and mandating service integration will not change the way workers behave. Perhaps it is now time to stop using service integration as a way of avoiding making tough decisions about the more challenging issue of workforce integration and what this means for those with power and control over people's lives.


The paper separates integration into service and workforce integration and argues that too much focus is given to the former rather the latter.



The author would like to thank Robin Miller at the Birmingham University for his support with the preparation of this paper.


Thomas, J. (2015), "It was people that brought down the Berlin Wall – not process", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 17-22.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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