Opinions

A TSI perspective of the ALLIANCE Annual Conference 2018

Written by: Matt Carle, Partnership Development Officer, ACVO TSI
and Kaja Czuchnicka, Partnership and Enterprise Officer, ACVO TSI
and Jane Russell, Partnership Manager, ACVO TSI

Published: 21/06/2018

Briefing on The ALLIANCE Annual Conference Action: the 2nd Health and Social Care Integration event by staff at ACVO.

The popular 3rd sector Annual Health and Social Care Alliance Conference in Glasgow, kicked off with welcoming remarks from Pennie Taylor, a Health Journalist and Broadcaster. Pennie acted as Conference Chair and did a stellar job throughout in tying together themes and actions and keeping delegates and speakers (!) focussed and on message.

After impressive performances by poet Shaun Moore and Centrestage Choir, the Conference began with a series of lightning talks from a range of thought-provoking speakers:  Rhona Hotchkiss, Governor of HMP Greenock spoke of her desire for compassion and pragmatism, talking about the startling amount of ACES (adverse childhood experiences) that effect people in Prison. We recommend that all 3rd sector organisations explore and get to understand the impact of ACES in people’s lives, it is a big wake up call.

Next to speak was Lynn Williams, an unpaid carer, whose sobering talk centred on the realities of integrated care and why there needs to be more of an emphasis on humanity for unpaid carers.  Derek Todd from ‘deafscotland’ then gave a talk calling for more action to include deaf people by removing communication barriers. The morning session was rounded off by Annemargaret Black, Head of Community Health and Care Services at East Ayrshire H&SC Partnership. Annemargaret talked of seeing her role as a Manager as being a ‘red tape buster’ for service users and carers and her desire to work with different people where required to achieve different outcomes.

Matt attended the morning workshop on Brexit and the potential impacts on Health and Social Care and the wider community. The first speaker was Alison Culpan who is Director for ABPI Scotland; The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. Alison gave an impassioned talk on the negative impacts that our exit from Europe will have on funding for pharmaceutical research. She also touched on the potential dangers of missing out on top European pharmaceutical talent, should the assumed restrictions on freedom of movement come to pass. There was a strong feeling that Britain’s pharmaceutical industry is in danger of being left behind by other EU countries after Britain’s exit from the EU and that despite pushing for clarity on key issues, there has been little in the way of comfort from policy makers.

The second speaker was Dave Watson, Head of Policy and Public Affairs with Unison. Dave talked about the implications on an already overstretched Health and Social Care workforce after Brexit. With an estimated shortfall of workers in the Health and Social Care sector on the horizon, it cannot be overstated how reliant the sector has been on migrant workers and there’s a real concern that without these workers, Health and Social Care will face serious issues.

Jane & Kaja attended the session on Integration, two years on. There were very varied reports from across Scotland on the  impact of Integration and what had actually been happening and what was now in place. Some questions from the floor included the lack of equity over decision-making and how the term ‘bottom up’ often confused this process. Questions were asked over what was meaningful engagement with stakeholders and communities in particular. How was this assessed and what was seen to be ‘meaningful’? Also funding was an important issue and how some systems were not transparent to all members of the Partnerships. For example national charities couldn’t get decisions if not all IJBs were represented at Health Board level which could mean up to three or more IJBs being negotiated with at the same time, which had taken some organisations more than nine months to pin down. The system was thought to lack agility, nimbleness and still contained great complexity not least over information sharing between all partners.

Jane also attended the session on Public Health Reform with Eibhlin McHugh, co-director of the Executive Delivery Group for Public Health Reform. We were given the latest priorities and also the development of a new public health body. Eibhlin’s presentation was very comprehensive and certainly will encompass all of the 3rd sector including, importantly our Housing Associations.

Kaja attended the Human Rights Budgeting in Health and Social Care which was very useful and informative in understanding Scottish Government budgets and how they are spent. If this is to be implemented we would be the first country in the world to do this!

Matt attended a workshop on Community Empowerment where a series of speakers discussed how a drive towards community empowerment in Scotland, especially as relates to asset transfers and participatory budgeting, is allowing communities to play a greater role in shaping and setting the direction of services.

The afternoon session in the main conference room consisted of a speech by Scotland’s Brexit Minister Mike Russell who discussed some of the issues in Integration and an update on the Scottish Government’s negotiations for leaving the EU. A hugely successful conference was then rounded off by Chair Pennie Taylor who took comments from delegates and produced action points to take in to the next year.

We highly recommend that all our colleagues in the Health and Social Care Partnership should not miss this Annual event.

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