SOCIAL workers could join GP surgeries under plans being developed by Surrey County Council.
The authority is exploring the idea of putting social workers who care for older people into practices.
Surrey has already taken the first steps towards integrating the health and social care services in Runnymede.
Social care staff have been assigned to surgeries and participate in regular meetings held at practices to help patients stay in their own homes and communities.
Doctors and social workers often provide services to the same people, for instance those with a mental health issue.
Now the scheme could be rolled out across the county to allow doctors and social workers to work together and avoid duplication.
It comes after council social services staff were installed permanently at two Surrey hospitals - Epsom General Hospital and the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford - to help older people return home quicker and ahead of the changes to the NHS next April.
Under the NHS reforms, public health will transfer to councils and GPs will take control of around £65bn of NHS spending. At the same time, councils responsible for social care will work with GPs through health and well-being boards.
Surrey County Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Michael Gosling said: "GPs and social care staff play a vital role in treating and supporting older people so it makes sense to look at new ways of helping them work closer together, especially as we prepare to take on a much bigger role in health.
"We are at an early stage in the development of this idea but putting our staff into GP practices has the potential to remove barriers to communication and unnecessary bureaucracy, giving patients a better service and helping them stay in the homes they love."
Article from Matt Collinson at ThisisSurreyToday
Member since: 10th July 2012
We love the great local businesses and community