The essential role integration has to play in delivering the Scottish Government's Value Based Health and Care Action Plan.

On the 4th October 2023, the Scottish Government published its Value Based Health and Care Action Plan, which outlines the actions required to support the health and care workforce to practice Realistic Medicine and deliver value based health and care. It has been proposed that by 2030, all health professionals in Scotland will be supported to deliver the plan.

Value Based Health and Care focuses on outcomes which matter to people, optimising the use of health and care resources and contributing to a more sustainable health and care system. The plan puts an emphasis on values relating to the person, their society, and the wider population, which allows professionals to focus resources in ways that will have the greatest impact, such as promoting preventative approaches that can contribute to living more healthily.

As a result, it is an action plan that is firmly rooted within integration, with a focus on driving culture change across Scotland that promotes co-production and values individuals receiving care, who are entrusted to know what’s best for them.

The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Professor Sir Gregor Smith, said in his foreword that, “care is not just biomedical, it is biographical too”. These comments were made with Realistic Medicine in mind, which is an innovative and transformational approach to reforming the way in which healthcare professionals deliver care. Realistic Medicine is revolutionary in that it seeks the co-operation and input of the individual receiving care so that a more value based and personalised approach can be drawn up and worked towards.

The principles of Realistic Medicine are aligned with the themes of integration; promoting a culture shift, emphasising person centred involvement, encouraging greater collaboration, fostering trusting relationships, and valuing input from those with lived experience. These principles have been widely welcomed and accepted by health boards and communities across Scotland, with this approach fundamental to the delivery of successful integration. By further incorporating these principles into Value Based Health and Care, there will be a move towards a working culture that emphasises better and longer-term outcomes, which in turn will encourage healthcare professionals to work collaboratively with individuals and ensure their input is truly valued when discussing their care.

The ALLIANCE Integration team’s case study series, Connected Communities, is highlighting direct examples of organisations harnessing integrated practices within the third sector. By working in a way that aligns with the themes of integration across the sectors, communities and professionals alike are becoming more connected, and as a result, are feeling more valued by those around them. This is allowing for; authentic relationships to be forged, lived experience to be championed, and the spread of knowledge, and ideas to become more open, accessible, and transparent across society. Therefore, with Value Based Health and Care set to champion co-creation and “the power of the relationship”, there appears to be no reason as to why this wouldn’t be successful within the healthcare setting too.

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