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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Making a difference: Workforce skills and capacity for integrated care.

Akehurst, Joy, Stronge, Paul, Giles, Karen and Ling, Jonathan (2021) Making a difference: Workforce skills and capacity for integrated care. International Journal of Integrated Care. ISSN 1568-4156

Item Type: Article


The aim of this action research was to explore, from a workforce and a patient/carer perspective, the skills and the capacity required to deliver integrated care and to inform future workforce development and planning in a new integrated care system in England.

Semi-structured interviews and focus groups with primary, community, acute care, social care and voluntary care, frontline and managerial staff and with patients and carers receiving these services were undertaken. Data were explored using framework analysis.

Analysis revealed three overarching themes: achieving teamwork and integration, managing demands on capacity and capability and delivering holistic and user-centred care. An organisational development (OD) process was developed as part of the action research process to facilitate the large-scale workforce changes taking place.

Research limitations/implications
This study did not consider workforce development and planning challenges for nursing and care staff in residential, nursing care homes or domiciliary services. This part of the workforce is integral to the care pathways for many patients, and in line with the current emerging national focus on this sector, these groups require further examination. Further, data explore service users' and carers' perspectives on workforce skills. It proved challenging to recruit patient and carer respondents for the research due to the nature of their illnesses.

Practical implications
Many of the required skills already existed within the workforce. The OD process facilitated collaborative learning to enhance skills; however, workforce planning across a whole system has challenges in relation to data gathering and management. Ensuring a focus on workforce development and planning is an important part of integrated care development.

Social implications
This study has implications for social and voluntary sector organisations in respect of inter-agency working practices, as well as the identification of workforce development needs and potential for informing subsequent cross-sector workforce planning arrangements and communication.

This paper helps to identify the issues and benefits of implementing person-centred, integrated teamworking and the implications for workforce planning and OD approaches.

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More Information

Depositing User: Jonathan Ling


Item ID: 12687
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1568-4156
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Joy Akehurst: ORCID iD
ORCID for Karen Giles: ORCID iD
ORCID for Jonathan Ling: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2020 10:16
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2021 13:00


Author: Joy Akehurst ORCID iD
Author: Karen Giles ORCID iD
Author: Jonathan Ling ORCID iD
Author: Paul Stronge

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing


Sciences > Health Sciences

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