Work to integrate health and social care services in Scotland is progressing well but needs to happen faster, a joint report by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has found.
The document highlights evidence of good progress in some local areas, but says the pace and effectiveness of integration need to increase.
A review of progress in bringing together health and social care services was carried out by senior figures from the NHS and local government, including NHS Scotland chief executive Paul Gray and Sally Loudon, the chief executive of the council umbrella group Cosla.
Integrating health and social care services is being taken forward in a bid to ensure people have access to the services and support they need, so that their care feels seamless and they experience good outcomes and high standards of support.
But integration requires services to be redesigned and improved, with a strong focus on prevention, quality and sustainability, so that the government can continue to maintain its focus on reforming and improving people’s experience of care, the report said.
The document sets out a number of proposals designed to ensure progress on integration continues. These include effective strategic planning for improvement; clear governance and accountability arrangements; and sustained engagement with local communities.
Cabinet Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Truly integrated services, focused on the needs of citizens, require our leadership and personal commitment. I am pleased that the Scottish Government and COSLA are working in partnership to ensure the success of integration. We need to act together and in our individual roles to accelerate progress.”
“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.”
Jeane Freeman will provide evidence on the report and its proposals at the Health and Sport Committee’s meeting on February 19.