The Working Party on the Future of Health Service Social Work was established by the Standing Conference of Organisations of Social Workers in 1968 to consider proposals (which were supported by the Institute of Medical Social Workers and later by BASW, but opposed by many individual social workers) that medical social workers attached to hospitals should become part of the appropriate local authority social services departments.
A reconstituted Working Party held its first meeting on 9 March 1972, in the light of National Health Service (NHS) reorganisation, and the twenty second and final meeting took place on 16 July 1973, the National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 having received royal assent on 5 July 1973. In July 1972 members felt that some guidance was needed as to the Working Party's terms of reference: they felt that the Working Party had to continue to look at the proposals for the reorganisation of the health service social work until the Act was passed, but were less clear about their responsibility to study other aspects of health service reorganisation and its relationship to local authority reorganisation. The final minutes referred to the Collaboration Working Party and stated that the Professional Development and Practice Committee had considered nominations for a new Working Party of sixteen members which would represent the interests of Sections I and II, Child Guidance and Salaries.
A note from 'BASW News' stated that the National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 received royal assent on 5 July 1973 and referred to the proposal by the Secretary of State for the establishment of a broadly based working party representing both the Health Service and local authority interests to examine practical arrangements for the provision of social work support for the health service by the local authorities.
The Working Party passed through several changes of name over the sixteen months of its existence: Future of Health Service Social Workers, March-April 1972, Future Organisation of Health Service Social Work, May to July 1972, Future of Health Service Social Work, September-November 1972, and Health Service Social Work, January-July 1973.
It was probably succeeded by the Working Party on Social Work Support for the Health Service.