22nd February 2017

Building partnership in Health and Social care services

Scottish legislation came into force in April 2016 to require health and social care services to be provided on an integrated basis across the country by local Health and Social care partnerships. Shifting the balance of care to community resources is the ultimate aim of Health and Social Care integration. Services are intended to be more person and community-centred, preventive rather than reactive in their approach. They are accountable to work towards specific National outcomes for the quality of care. These outcomes are:

  • People have better health, with fewer health inequalities:
  • There is greater potential for independent living;
  • Improved choices and quality of life;
  • Informal, unpaid carers are supported;
  • Safeguarding and respect for dignity are ensured, and
  • There is better consistency of quality, and effectiveness of resources in health and social care.

The Health and Sports Committee of the Scottish Government has already discussed progress made on this in the first year of operation of Integrated Joint Boards. The Committee noted that specific efficiencies and improved services were reported in a separate survey.

Involving stakeholders and partners

However, the Committee wants now to widen its overview of progress, and is seeking the views of stakeholders in how well they have been involved in, and influenced, the planning, strategy and delivery of integrated care. This involvement extends to third force agencies, and to service users and their families, in the interests of putting service users and their carers at the centre of service provision. The convener of the Committee said:

“One of the reasons behind integrating health and social care was to ensure that the patient was put at the heart of all services – regardless of who was providing it. We want to establish how well this vision is being delivered on in practice...

“It’s right that patients, carers, NHS staff, social care staff and the third sector do get a say in the future of health and social services and how these are being delivered. We hope to establish how well this is happening.”

The consultation is described in the Third Force News website, detailing how the Committee would like views on 'how and why they get involved in decision making, whether they were consulted in the preparation of strategic plans, to what extent they have been involved in the work of their local integration authority and how much that involvement has impacted on decision making.'

Improving integration

This consultation indicates a commitment to making the integration of services as complete and effective as it can be. Any service or stakeholder who has not been involved can flag this up, and presumably, the Committee will, through its scrutiny, aim to maximise the involvement of all concerned. This should ensure that the second year of service integration will build on the initial successes already achieved. All relevant services and potential partners are urged to contribute their views by 8 March 2017.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Tony Clarke

Scottish Care Inspectorate Specialist

Tony began care work as a care assistant in care of the elderly here in Scotland in the 1970s. He very much enjoyed promoting activities, interests and good basic care. After a gap to gain a social work qualification, he worked in management of care services, latterly as a peripatetic manager which gave him experience of a wide range of services.

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