Journal Article

United We Stand? Partnership Working in Health and Social Care and the Role of Social Work in Services for Older People

Mark Lymbery

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 7, pages 1119-1134
Published in print October 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch348
United We Stand? Partnership Working in Health and Social Care and the Role of Social Work in Services for Older People

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The concepts of ‘partnership’ and ‘collaboration’ have become amongst the most critical themes of ‘new’ Labour’s social policy, particularly in respect of the delivery of health and social care. Although the terms are rarely precisely defined and hence have become problematic to analyse, in most understandings successful partnerships rely upon good systems of inter-professional collaboration. Through revisiting the extensive literature on the sociology of the professions, and the nature of inter-professional working, this paper will argue that effective collaborative working within health and social care is hard to achieve, particularly in the light of the vast differences in power and culture between various occupational groupings, and the inherently competitive nature of professions jostling for territory in the same areas of activity. It suggests that these issues cannot be resolved unless they are properly understood; a rhetorical appeal to the unmitigated benefits of ‘partnership’ alone will not produce more effective joint working. In addition, it notes that an appropriate role for social work in the context of partnership working has yet to be defined and proposes specific tasks and values that distinguish the social worker from other related professionals.

Keywords: social work; older people; partnership; inter-professional working

Journal Article.  7024 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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