Health and Social Care

Spotlight on: John Walker, Chief Officer for Perth & Kinross

September 25, 2014 by No Comments | Category Spotlight, Uncategorized

What background brought you to the position of Chief Officer?

I’ve worked in local government for 30 years. Although my background is originally finance, I’ve been responsible for service delivery in many areas of the Council in that time. For the last five years I was Depute Director of Housing and Community Care for Perth & Kinross Council. In that period, I’ve overseen substantial organisational changes and the redesign of services which has been to the benefit of tenants and service users, while sustaining services into the future under challenging financial constraints.

What model of integration has Perth & Kinross chosen?

We’ve chosen the Body Corporate model, so we currently have an advisory Pathfinder Board working on our Integration Scheme. We felt this model was the best fit to build on the existing strengths of our collaborative working with our local partners. It allows us to concentrate straight away on improving outcomes for service users without staff having to worry that their employer might change.

What are the key challenges in your locality?

We have an increasingly elderly demographic which, while not unique to Perth & Kinross, is pronounced in our area. So we need to balance the pressures we can see building there with the fact that we do also have areas of health inequalities, which have an impact on health outcomes.

We’re currently working to a model of four localities across Perth & Kinross, but this will be open to change as we consult with staff and communities to find out how they themselves view their localities. It’s hugely important that we take their views into account and tap into the knowledge that they have about local issues.

What benefits do you anticipate for service users?

I’m excited by the possibilities of health and social care integration becoming truly patient and service user-focussed. We need to move away from doing things ‘to’ people and towards having a conversation with them, finding out what care and support they want, and making sure they understand their options.

There’s also a real chance to pool local knowledge so that we can target early intervention where it is most needed. Together with more choice and control for patients, service users and their families and carers, this will mean we have a service that produces real, positive outcomes for individuals.

What workforce planning is needed?

I see workforce planning as being about culture change. Employees have professional areas of expertise and we need to respect and build on those existing strengths. The challenge is how to get best value by sharing that knowledge. That may mean co-locating, sharing communication or access to data, but we need to make it easier for employees to be flexible across multi-disciplinary teams in how they arrange the best service for each individual.

To find out more about the integration of health and social care in Perth & Kinross, contact Ruth Fry.

Tags: ,


Leave a comment