Focusing on the mechanisms risks missing the true purpose of integration.
Key to the Scottish Government’s commitment to integrating health and social care is to deliver better outcomes for individuals. The discussion at a recent conference on integration focussed on how we ensure personal outcomes are at the heart of this agenda.
However, there is a risk that the debate is focussing too strongly on the detail of getting the system right – rather than delivering the desired outcomes.
The Social Services Research Group (SSRG) conference in Edinburgh was addressed by a range of speakers including the Scottish Government policy lead for integration, the Director for Adult Care at NHS Highland, the Director of IRISS and the ALLIANCE’s Karen Barrie who is leading on the Personal Outcomes and Quality Measures project.
The extent to which partnership working delivers effective outcomes for the individual is not yet proven and evidence tells us that a common pitfall to partnership working is not being clear about the outcomes. Integration is not an end in itself; rather the measure of success must be the extent to which people’s lives improve.
Our view as the third sector is that the proposals for integration need to be based upon the guiding principles of equality and human rights. We must ensure a stronger voice for people who use services and for unpaid carers and safeguard the role of the third sector as a strategic, equal partner.