Inspectors praise integration of health and social care in North Lanarkshire

The health and social care partnership in North Lanarkshire is laying down “strong foundations” to support more integrated working, inspectors have found.

They praised a number of important strengths in the partnership’s strategic plan, which shows how health and social care services will meet local people’s needs in the future.

In a report published today, inspectors found a shared vision and collective commitment to the development of the integration of health and social care in North Lanarkshire with the aim of supporting better outcomes for people. A range of detailed and comprehensive strategies had been developed to support integration with a strong local focus, and structures have been enhanced to support more integrated working. The partnership with voluntary sector organisations was strong.

Inspectors judged that although strategic planning and commissioning was at an early stage, it was productive, with evidence of sound partnership. Officers in senior leadership posts had made significant investment and good progress in driving towards a culture of shared responsibility and accountability. Inspectors found that the building blocks were in place to support improvement in people’s experiences and outcomes.

However, delayed discharges and unscheduled care were continuing to put pressure on acute services. Inspectors found that planning and performance processes were “evolving” and called on the partnership to closely scrutinise the proactive use of performance data to better plan changes. This is necessary to ensure that accountability for performance is effectively managed.

This is the first of a new type of joint inspection following the integration of health and social care. Inspectors found that strategic planning and commissioning arrangements were good, and rated the current key performance outcomes being delivered by the partnership as being adequate.

Karen Reid, Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate, said: “People across Scotland want to know that they will experience high-quality care. Integration is the biggest change in health and social care for decades so will take time to embed, but people want to know whether the right building blocks are in place in their local area.

“In North Lanarkshire, we found a clear commitment to work together to improve the experiences for people, with strong foundations in place. We are pleased to see senior leaders developing a shared culture which is designed to put the needs of people first. We expect to see timely support to help people leaving hospital move back home. We would like to see further involvement of people, especially carers, in planning how services will be delivered.”

Robbie Pearson, Chief Executive of Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “The purpose of our inspection was to help North Lanarkshire understand how well they plan and commission services to achieve better outcomes for people. To do this, we assessed the vision, values and culture across the partnership, including leadership of strategy and direction, the operational and strategic planning arrangements and improvements the partnership was making in health and social care services for all adults.

“The Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland recommend that North Lanarkshire continually monitors and evaluates progress of the planning processes currently underway, and the impact they are having on operational performance.”

The inspection was carried out between May and August 2017 and the report is available here: