Audit Scotland says that significant risks must be addressed if the reform of health and social care is to fundamentally change how services are delivered and improve outcomes for the people who use them. Their report Health and Social Care Integration is published today, 3rd December 2015.
Together with partners in the Third Sector Health and Social Care Advisory Group, VHS welcomes the report and the opportunity we had to input to it. In particular, we are pleased to see the voluntary sector noted as a significant partner in developing integration. We are keen to build on this because the voluntary, community, social enterprise and housing sectors are well placed to develop and deliver the community-based and preventative solutions that integration requires.
We are optimistic and enthusiastic about the difference the integration of health and social care could make to people’s lives, however the voluntary, community and housing sectors must be meaningfully and consistently involved in these reforms.
All steps should be taken to ensure that the focus is always on the end goal of people receiving the right care at the right time and in the right setting, resulting in improved outcomes for people. Integration seeks to ensure people using health and social care services can expect to be listened to, to be involved in deciding upon the care they receive and to be an active participant in how it is delivered.
There is wide support for the opportunities offered by health and social care integration, including the ambition to reduce health inequalities. This report has been a helpful starting point for discussions and we urge Audit Scotland to continue to engage us in its work on health and social care integration. We look forward to greater involvement for all relevant stakeholders in future integration audits.
An immediate next step in this meaningful engagement between our organisations and Audit Scotland will be a collaborative event on the afternoon of Tuesday, 26th January 2016 in Edinburgh. VHS is coordinating this event on behalf of the Third Sector Health and Social Care Advisory Group, to enable Audit Scotland to present the report to a voluntary, community and housing sector audience and to provide an opportunity to discuss the implications of the report and explore how we can build on the recommendations.
If you are interested in this event, please contact Lauren Blair at VHS to register your attendance.