News

“Much more to be done” to integrate health and social care

Section: Health and Social Care Support and ServicesType: News Item Date Published: 15th November 2018

Audit Scotland report puts emphasis on financial planning and engagement to achieve integration.

In its second of three reports on the progress of health and social care integration (this link will take you away from our website), Audit Scotland has suggest there is “much more” work to be done in achieving the vision and spirit of the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014.

Whilst acknowledging that Integration Authorities have started to introduce more collaborative ways of delivering services, reducing delayed discharges and unplanned hospital activity, they also identify that:

  • Financial planning is not integrated, long term or focused on providing the best outcomes, limiting the ability to improve the health and social care system.
  • Integration Authorities were designed to control some services provided by acute hospitals and their related budgets. This part of the legislation has not been enacted in most areas.
  • Strategic planning needs to improve and is hampered by a lack of collaborative leadership, high turnover in leadership teams, disagreement over governance arrangements and an inability or unwillingness to share data with staff and the public.

Commenting on the publication, Professor Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) said: “This report is a welcome reminder that the purpose of integrating health and social care is to improve the outcomes of people who use support and services. Clearly, we welcome reductions in unplanned hospital activity and delayed discharges which have occurred as a direct result of integration, but it is concerning to note the auditors view that planning is not geared towards improving outcomes.

In our view, all partners, including people who use support and services and the third sector, must be involved in setting a future agenda for integrated services across Scotland that prioritises engagement, involvement and improvement. To support this, we believe that Chief Officers from each of the integrated partnerships and the Scottish Government should urgently seek to meet with third sector leaders, to identify and fund shared learning of successful approaches to integration where prevention and partnership activity have been prioritised.”

The ALLIANCE has produced a briefing for members on the new report.

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