Health and Social Care Integration
Audit Scotland’s Report on Health and Social Care Integration
Audit Scotland published their first progress report on Health and Social Care Integration on 3 December 2015, making this a good point at which to take stock and reflect on the progress that’s been made and the challenges which lie ahead.
The report contains much that is positive, and it’s particularly welcome that they have found widespread support for the principles of integration from the individuals and organisations implementing the changes. The report also recognises the work that the Scottish Government has done in driving these reforms, from the legislative framework we’ve established to the substantial additional funding of over half a billion pounds to support integration over the next three years.
However, we need to continue to build on these solid foundations to ensure that integration delivers real improvements for people, with a greater focus on anticipatory, preventative and person-centred care. This represents a real shift in thinking at all levels as to how these services are delivered. As Audit Scotland recognises, integration means that the Scottish Government, Local Authorities, NHS Boards, GPs, the third and independent sectors, and those who use service all work much more closely together. For this to be effective, it is important that everyone understands, respects and takes account of the differences in organisational cultures so these do not become a barrier to progress.
Although Health and Social Care Integration is a challenging programme of reform, it is also an essential one. People in Scotland are living longer than ever before, many with long term conditions and a growing number of older people with multiple conditions and complex needs which require greater coordination across a range of services. By integrating these services, we will not only deliver better care for individuals, but also reduce the inefficiencies associated with disjointed systems.
People are at the heart of our integration policy and our key aim is to ensure that those who use health and social care services get the best care and support, based on their own personal circumstances, and which is focused on what matters most to them.