Health and Social Care

Chief Officers Spotlight: Ron Culley, Western Isles

August 28, 2015 by No Comments | Category Uncategorized

To my mind, the integration of health and social care is centrally focused on answering two important questions. First, how do we use optimally the resources delegated to the Integration Joint Board? Second, what does the delivery of good and effective integrated care and support look like? The former is at the heart of the strategic commissioning process while the latter connects to organisational change and the operational cohesion of the partnership. Both questions demand a complex response.

These are the two questions I’ve been asking people in the first six weeks of taking up post. A friend advised me to get out as much as possible during the early days, to resist the temptation of being drawn into a perpetual cycle of committee meetings. So during that time I’ve travelled from the butt of Lewis – the most North Western point of the British Isles – to the island of Barra 160 miles to the south, and everywhere else in between. I’ve asked those questions to almost everyone I’ve met: third sector representatives, carers, GPs, nurses, AHPs, home care and care home staff, politicians, middle managers and members of the public. It is unsurprising that I’ve had a multitude of views expressed in response.

But there a few themes in common that have emerged: the need to create the conditions of effective interdisciplinary working, stripped of organisational politics; the need for empowered localities that provide a stronger connection between how resources are used and the needs of the community; the need to redesign our system of care to sustain the independence of the people who use our services.

I’m particularly interested in the potential of locality planning. We need to take advantage of the strong communities which breathe life into our locality arrangements. Our localities may be small in population terms, but they have a strong sense of identity and have a thirst for decision making to be brought closer to them. It may seem unwise in the face of a sustained period of austerity to push power and resources away from the traditional of centres of power – some would argue it’s a sure way to lose control. But as long as accountability is passed along with the delegated resources, then I think we can achieve greater efficiency and better outcomes.

So six weeks in, I’m optimistic that we can overcome the challenges we have by engaging with staff and communities, by prioritising, by innovating, by using the data, by taking calculated risks. Above all, by integrating our care.

Le dùrachd

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