Health and Social Care

Spotlight on: Sandy Riddell, Chief Officer for Fife

October 27, 2014 by No Comments | Category Spotlight

What background brought you to the position of Chief Officer?

Sandy-Riddell1I qualified as a social worker 36 years ago and have had extensive experience in both adult and children’s services. My experience as a Service Director has included responsibility for social work, housing and education services.

In addition to substantial experience of implementing service integration at a local level, I have regularly been involved at a national level in the shaping of policy and legislation for adult health and social care. For example, during my recent term as President of the Association of Directors of Social Work, I participated in the Ministerial Strategic Group, the Delivery Group and the 2020 Vision Advisory Board, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.

What model of integration has Fife chosen?

Fife has agreed the Body Corporate model and a new Health and Social Care Partnership, which is the joint and equal responsibility of NHS Fife and Fife Council, has been formed.

Like other parts of Scotland, what may or may not be included in the scope of the Partnership may change over time as initial anxieties lessen and there is a growing confidence around what our new Partnership can achieve. This is an exciting time for Fife with lots of potential for the future, and opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of our citizens.

What are the key challenges in your locality?

Fife is the fifth fastest growing region in Scotland and has a population of around

360,500; the third largest population of the 32 local authorities.  Needs across the Kingdom can vary from community to community, and these will need to be supported in different ways to reduce inequalities.

The 75+ population in Fife is due to increase by 20.4% by 2014 and increase by 64.3% by 2024.  The number of people living with dementia in Fife is set to increase dramatically over the next 20 years, from 5,700 currently to an estimated 11,000 by 2030.

The major challenge though is managing these pressures during a time of budget reduction whilst also trying to take forward the significant restructuring of services. A real commitment exists across Fife though to working jointly to address these budget pressures. I have also been really impressed by the way that local staff, despite significant workload pressures, remain committed to thinking creatively about how services could evolve in the future.

What benefits do you anticipate for service users?

We are in no doubt that our integrated approach will help to improve services for local communities and meet the aspirations of individuals. We are determined to approach this important agenda by listening to and fully involving those who use our services – our starting point has to be people and place in the redesign of services as it’s the public who often experience the poor connections between services most acutely.  We believe that by working in a truly integrated way, a combined package of care and support will help keep vulnerable people healthier and independent for longer. There is a growing acceptance that developments undertaken now in Fife will put in place strong foundations for further joint services in the future. The more that services are designed and targeted in ways that are informed by the public and staff on the front line, the more effective they will be in meeting need.

What workforce planning is needed?

Everyone working in Health and Social Care Services has a responsibility to positively engage in determining how we can work together to provide the best services with and for the people of Fife. There will, of course, be challenges that we will face together.

Change will happen gradually; we need to be both patient and pragmatic. Staff engagement is a critical element in all of this as they have a key role to play in making all this work. We will therefore continue to ensure that colleagues are fully engaged in the development and delivery of services and new ways of working. We are also very conscious that the lives of the public do not respect service boundaries nor simply fit into children’s or adult service provision. So a critical aspect of managing in local change will be ensuring that strong connections and development takes place between the emerging Partnership and wider aspects of the local service landscape.

To do this, the expertise, knowledge and skills of colleagues, along with input from service users, providers and other stakeholders, will all help drive new and more innovative ways of working at a local level.

This agenda also heralds a fantastic opportunity for all of us to ensure that across Scotland pockets of innovation are spread; that best practice is shared between Partnerships so that we can tap into and benefit from some of the creativity and expertise which exists.

To find out more about the integration of health and social care in Fife, contact Change Managers Heather Ford or Fiona Mackenzie or telephone 03451 555555 (Ext. 444230).


Leave a comment