Student number: 03973107
Discuss the potential benefits and difficulties associated with inter-professional collaborative working, drawing examples from your own experiences of the collaborative group work which forms an integral aspect of the module.
Collaboration according to both the Oxford Dictionary of Current English and Webster's means simply to "labour together" or to work jointly. Michaund (1970) defined inter-professional collaboration as involving the shared training, which aims to help professionals work together more effectively in the interests of their clients and patients by enhancing cooperation. Payne (1990) described three forms to a team being collaborative, leader centred and individualistic to from a basis to multidisciplinary working. Overtrait (1997a) felt that there were four parts to an inter-professional approach these were, integration, team membership, client pathway and decision-making and the management structure of a team.
This essay will firstly address some of the issues that have highlighted the need for inter-professional collaboration. Secondly it will look at some of the policy initiatives that advocate inter-professional collaboration and attempt to identify opportunities and furthermore outline some of the challenges that arise from collaboration. Finally the essay will attempt to illustrate my personal experience of collaboration in an educational setting, in which, policies have outlined that inter-professional collaboration in an educational setting in the form of learning collaboratively, lays down foundations for inter-professional collaboration in the workforce.
The importance of interprofessional working has been a topic debated within health and social services for well over a quarter of a century. Inquiry after Inquiry on issues such as child abuse has pointed the finger at health and social work professionals for their failure to work cooperatively and collaboratively together. Recently the Victoria Climbie Inquiry examined and found failures in collaboration, which resulted in Victoria's death. The inquiry concluded that the extent of the failure to protect Victoria was lamentable. The report went on to say that tragically it required nothing more than basic good practice being put into operation. In his opening statement to the inquiry, Neil Garnham QC listed no fewer than 12 key occasions when the relevant services had the opportunity to successfully intervene. Sometimes it needed
Student number: 03973107
nothing more than a manager doing their job by asking pertinent questions or taking the time to look in a case file. The suffering and death of Victoria was a gross failure of the system and was inexcusable. A theme that frequently appeared, across a range of agencies, in the inquiry was that of lack in communication. It outlined nurses had raised doubts yet nothing was mentioned in any documentation. Furthermore a consultant at the Central Middlesex hospital examined cuts on Victoria and presumed they were probably due to scabies. Victoria was therefore discharged and released back into the care of her abusers. Dr Schwartz told the inquiry that she assumed social services would investigate further. Had this assumption not been made but instead acted upon it is quite possible Victoria could be alive But this was not the only error made this was just one of many. Two weeks later Victoria was back in hospital this time at the North Middlesex but this time the picture of incompetence was different this time it was insufficient communication where a consultant had concerns over Victoria but on her notes she wrote able to discharge this confused staff and Victoria was again discharged. The inquiry also heard how a metropolitan police officer had cancelled an appointment to inspect Victoria's home because of a fear of catching scabies. Again these are just some of the catalogue of errors that added to the exposure of incompetence and error at every level. The report outlined that there is no doubt that the effective support of children and families cannot be achieved by single agencies acting alone. It depends on a number of agencies working well together.