§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government have taken to promote co-operation between social care professionals and health care professionals.
§ Mr. Boateng
The Department encourages joint training between health and social services and fosters projects for staff from both services to share practice placements in the early years of training. We expect that the Social Services white paper, due in the summer, will further develop the theme of joint training. The proposed establishment of National Training Organisations in both the health and social care sectors offers an additional opportunity for working together.
The National Health Service White Paper calls for co-operation between the services on service delivery. In particular the establishment of Primary Care Groups, from 1 April 1999, will enable primary care and social services to call on their different local knowledge and agree programmes with local people to improve services for users, thereby ensuring closer working and cooperation between health and social care professionals and the community served by the group.