More work needed on health and social care integration
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Plans to integrate health and social care services in Scotland are in danger of not improving the lives of people with long-term health problems, Scottish charities said this week.
Several organisations said that a bigger role for third sector organisations is needed to ensure the radical change to the current care system that the move is designed to create.
They spoke out as the Scottish Government’s consultation on adult health and social care integration closed this week.
The consultation, launched last May, contains wide-ranging proposals to reform care services, particularly for older people and aims to make better use of resources.
Among the plans, new legislation will create Health and Social Care Partnerships to replace Community Health Partnerships and will shift the balance of care from institutional to community-based settings.
However, as the consultation closed, organisations warned the proposals need to be substantially strengthened as the role of the third sector as a key strategic and delivery partner had been seriously underplayed.
Leading organisations have questioned whether the proposals go far enough to make the meaningful changes the government is promising from the reforms.
Some 18 leading third sector organisations said in a joint statement that the proposals need to be worked on to include a clear set of guiding principles, based on equality and human rights. People who use services and their carers should also be given a bigger role while a strategic role for the third sector should be embedded in legislation, the group said.
The Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland (LTCAS) told TFN it welcomed the government’s commitment to integration, however, it reiterated the need for the third sector to be given lead roles in delivery and decisions.
It also said the emphasis should not just be about fixing a broken system but more about positive outcomes to support vulnerable people.
Ian Welsh, chief executive of LTCAS, said: “The consultation rightly identifies the problems that integration needs to fix, however, this must be about more than mending aspects of our system – that does not match the aspirations of people I speak to.
“It should be about ensuring all people have the support they need – be it health or social care – to enable them to lead fulfilled lives as equal and active citizens.
“The alliance will continue to work hard, alongside its members and partners, to ensure the voices of people who use support and services are central to shaping the plans as they develop over the coming months.”
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations in its consultation response, said the third sector’s role was crucial.
John Downie, SCVO’s director of public affairs, said: “The starting point for this planned reform should be the creation of services which empower people to live, not just exist. Whether or not that is the intention, this is reality for many citizens in the current set up.
“From our perspective, the role that the third sector can play is central– and largely missed. We see mixed messages about the role of the sector in this document – referred to as both a stakeholder and a partner.
“That needs to be resolved if the third sector is to be a key strategic partner in this agenda.”