Health and social care integration must happen quicker, says report

Health and social care integration must happen quicker
Jeane Freeman, Scottish government cabinet secretary for health and sport

The pace of integrating health and social care services needs to increase, a joint report by the Scottish government and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has found.

While the document highlighted evidence of good progress in some local areas, the review pointed out challenges that needed addressing ‘to drive forward change and reform to truly deliver integration’.

The government and COSLA are looking at redesigning and improving services, with a focus on prevention, quality and sustainability.

Its review follows Audit Scotland’s observations in November that integration authorities were ‘operating in an extremely challenging environment’.

To tackle those challenges, the report sets out proposals to ensure progress on integration continues. These include:

  • Effective strategic planning for improvement
  • Clear governance and accountability arrangements
  • Sustained engagement with local communities

Integration joint boards have between six and 12 months to address issues.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman said: ‘There are challenges we must address and we recognise that we need to adapt, compromise and support one another to deliver integration for the people of Scotland.’

Councillor Stuart Currie, COSLA spokesperson for Health and Social Care, said: ‘Good progress has been made under integration to date but, as highlighted by Audit Scotland last year, there is always more we can do to achieve improved outcomes for our communities.

‘COSLA welcomes the proposals and their broad endorsement across the system sends a strong message of commitment to the health and social care integration agenda.’