Edinburgh takes first steps towards health and social care integration
The first official step towards a jointly led health and social care service will take place on Friday when the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board meets for the first time.
Led by chairman George Walker and vice chairman councillor Ricky Henderson, the Board will be responsible for developing a strategic commissioning plan that will fuse the health budgets of NHS Lothian and the City of Edinburgh Council.
Integrating these services will allow the partnership to:
• Look and plan ahead to better meet the needs of the adult and older population within Edinburgh;
• Improve health and reduce inequalities;
• Give communities an active role in designing and delivering services;
• Use shared resources in the most cost-effective way;
• Train and support staff to work together to meet people’s needs.
A Shadow Board was set up in 2012 to pave the way for full service integration.
Members of the public, staff, service users, carers, the voluntary and independent sectors and local communities will play an important role in the new set-up, with their views and opinions being used to form its strategic plan. A far-reaching consultation into the plan will be launched at the beginning of August, and interested parties will be encouraged to take part.
Mr Walker said: “There is no doubt that the next few years will be challenging. But, equally, I know we have a very committed Joint Board in Edinburgh, determined to make integration a success, and it was an honour to become chairman.
“Given our financial constraints, the challenge is large but the prize is huge. If we progress towards a much more integrated approach to health and social care, this has got to be better for the people we serve. We can work in a more streamlined way to deliver better outcomes for the people of Edinburgh.”
Councillor Henderson added: “I’ve seen the tremendous benefits for people when all organisations providing care and support work closely together, and the Wester Hailes Healthy Living Centre in my own ward is an excellent example of this.
“It’s no secret that health and social care in Edinburgh is facing a lot of pressure in the face of extreme budget constraints and an ageing population, but I believe that integration has the potential to deliver real improvements.”