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Health and social care integration takes step forward

NHS and council partnerships put service plans in place

The integration of health and social care yesterday reached an important milestone, as all 32 local NHS and council partnerships finalised their plans to bring together the two services.

With one year until integration goes fully live in all partnerships, councils and NHS boards are due to submit their integrated care plans and will then begin the process of putting these plans in place.

Nearly all parts of the country have set up Integrated Joint Boards, where both health and local government are represented, to make decisions about, and control the budget for, the delivery of integrated services.

The new partnerships will manage almost £8 billion of health and social care resources, including those currently associated with 96 per cent of delayed discharge and 83 per cent of unplanned admission in the over 75s.

While visiting Ashton Grange Care Home, an intermediate care facility in Glasgow, Health Secretary Shona Robison said that yesterday marked an important milestone in Scotland’s journey towards the full integration of health and social care – one of the biggest changes to the way these services are run in decades.

Ms Robison said yesterday: “Integrating health and social care services will fundamentally change the way parts of the healthcare system operates, helping to shift the focus away from acute care towards a model of care that looks after the person at home or in a homely setting.

“People are living longer. This a good thing and testament to the advances in our NHS and the medical care we now provide. But this means that we have an increasingly elderly population with more complex and long-term conditions than ever before.

“It is predicted that by 2037 the number of people with a long term condition will rise by 83 per cent and what is clear is that the traditional models of care, where the NHS and the social care sector work independently of each other, are no longer suitable to effectively care for these people.

“Integration is one of the most ambitious programmes of work this Government has undertaken, and one which we believe will deliver sustainable health and social care services for the future that are centred around the needs of patients.

“Only now are other parts of the UK waking up to the need for change, and the need for integrated services, which in Scotland we have been working towards for the last few years. Today marks a milestone in this journey – with all 32 partnerships across the country setting out how they plan to integrate those health and social care services under their joint responsibility.

“To make sure the process of change is as smooth and successful as possible, I announced earlier this month that we would be allocating a total of £300 million over three years to help partnerships achieve their ambitions.

“Health and social care integration is long-term change but it will also have immediate benefits. This vision, and our investment, will help to ensure that people across Scotland have access to the highest standards of care - in the right place and at the right time.”

The integration of health and care services will mean that local authorities and NHS boards have shared responsibility for those people who use both services, allowing them to plan together for patients across the whole care pathway.

Some partnerships have already begun the integration process. Ayrshire’s three partnerships for example had their plans approved by the Scottish Parliament earlier this month and are beginning to implement changes to services, while NHS Highland has had an integrated service model in place since 2012.


The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 received royal assent on 1 April 2014.

The Act provides the legislative framework for integration of health and social care services in Scotland. It requires local integration of adult health and social care services, with statutory partners (Health Boards and Local Authorities) deciding locally whether to include children’s health and social care services in their integrated arrangements.

The legislation sets out that all partnerships must have submitted their local integrated care plans to the Scottish Government for approval by 1 April 2015.

Fully integrated services must be operational by April 2016.

Ashton Grange Care Home

Ashton Grange Care Home provides long-term care for vulnerable older people as well as caring for patients who are medically fit to leave hospital but are not yet ready to return home.

The facility forms part of the development of intermediate care in Glasgow, a joint initiative between Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, which aims to reduce the time older people spend in hospital after they no longer require medical treatment.


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