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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Celebrate 20 years of this journal
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Integrated Care, Volume 19, Issue 5
2012 marks the start of the 20th Volume of this journal, and we have decided to publish a special Issue to mark it. This will be Issue 20.2 which will appear in April. We invite contributions to this special Issue, and have set a deadline of Christmas 2011 for first drafts to be submitted. Any ideas for articles will be welcome, from historical reflection on changes over the years to prospects for the future. A fuller outline of possible themes is given below, but the choice is yours.
I have been the editor for almost all of the 20 years. The trigger for the journal was the reform of community care which followed the White Paper Caring for People and the subsequent NHS and Community Care Act of 1990. I was invited to take on the editorship by the planning group, and Issue 1.2 was the first one I edited in full. Apart from a few occasions when we have had a guest editor for an Issue I have taken overall responsibility for the content. That means writing over a hundred editorials, and perpetual liaison with authors, reviewers, publisher, copy editor and Board. I have never had less than wonderful support despite having to live by set publication deadlines, and having to impose them on others. Thank you all.
From the start the journal tried to combine the core theme of care in the community with two other key influences:
making multi-disciplinary practice and inter-agency cooperation a reality – at the time there was considerable evidence of failure in these areas; and
facing the new challenge of evidence-based policy and practice.
Our goal was simply to produce content which could inform those trying to make a beneficial impact on need in the community.
In subsequent years, with the developed world waking up to alarming demographic changes, the international debate, led by the USA, eventually brought a focus onto chronic care, which translated into the more efficient management of long-term conditions in the UK later on. Gradually the policy focus in the UK edged towards health and social care, and this journal ultimately transformed itself into a focus on integrated care. This concept was uniting the interests of policy makers and scholars with all around the world. Many countries adopting integrated care are nevertheless exclusively considering health care: the UK has the most developed practice in relation to health and social care together. However, almost everywhere public services were also being caught up in new economic ideologies and market forces.
Even in this short review of this journal’s life over two decades, there are some obvious questions which would be useful to review in our anniversary issue:
Was the reform of community care a “poisoned chalice” for social services in the UK, as some predicted?
How has the evidence base for integrated care developed?
Is evidence being systematically applied in organisations to deliver improved outcomes?
Are the barriers to integrated care as strong as they ever were?
Is integration compatible with competition and personal choice?
Is the world economic stagnation more likely to hold back further integration or to stimulate innovation?
There are hundreds of other possible themes to explore. Please do write with your thoughts and experiences to help us celebrate.
Returning now to the international theme, our lead paper in this Issue reviews progress in integrated care in Central and South America. This is interesting in its own right. But what is most important is the account of the process undertaken via the auspices of the World Health Organisation to review the evidence about integrated models of care and how policy can be developed to encourage their introduction. The paper is, therefore, a valuable reality-check for more advanced countries.