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Developing and implementing research as a lever for integration : the impact of service context

Jarrett, Dominic and Stevenson, Tommy and Huby, Guro and Stewart, Ailsa (2009) Developing and implementing research as a lever for integration : the impact of service context. Journal of Integrated Care, 17 (5). pp. 38-48. ISSN 1476-9018

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Integration between health and local authority services has been informed more by policy than by evidence. The gap which often exists between the development of an evidence base and its implementation has in this way been circumvented, but new challenges have arisen as a result of the policy context and services' response to it. Research undertaken by a learning disability service to inform the local integration agenda failed to have any impact, possibly in part because the research itself was a product of the same organisational context that was shaping integration. Although several isolated integration initiatives were in existence, the lack of clear strategic direction identified by the project as a key feature of the local integration agenda also limited the extent to which the project itself could effect change. Both the project and those changes which were occurring in services became features of an overall stasis, which in itself can illuminate the challenge of effecting meaningful change through research on services in constant flux.