'Shared vision' is key to success of health and social care integration

RCN Scotland policy adviser Rachel Cackett said NHS health boards and local councils must focus on relationships between staff


NHS health boards and local councils in Scotland need to focus on relationships between staff to ensure integration of services is successful, according to an RCN policy adviser. 

Legislation to integrate health and social care services in Scotland will come into effect on April 1. 

There will be 31 local partnerships in the country which will bring together NHS and council services and which will manage a combined budget of about £8 billion.

RCN Scotland policy adviser Rachel Cackett said the college has been working on the integration agenda for the past five years.

She said it is a ‘radical change in how health and care will be delivered’.

District nurse teams, specialist nurses working in the community and some nurses working in the acute sector will be affected by the changes.   

Ms Cackett said: ‘We published some principles about integration. 

‘You need a shared vision and a focus on relationships. 

‘There are some areas where it is working really well and some areas where there is a way to go. 

‘Councils and health boards are in tight financial situations and that can determine conversations in a way that might not be support relationships between sectors.’

Ms Cackett added: ‘As everybody is struggling to make ends meet, there are still discussions on how much money is going into the pot [for the partnerships] and whether that is enough to do what communities require. 

‘And they are still working through some of the complexities of the governance arrangements.’

The Scottish Government has said there will be a focus on improving the transition for elderly patients between hospital and care settings.

Secretary for Health Shona Robison said: ‘Many local areas have seized this opportunity and are developing ways of working that benefit their patients.’


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