Sturgeon to urge MSP’s to back health integration proposals

The Health Secretary is to call on MSPs to support the integration of health and social care services during a debate at Holyrood.

The debate follows an announcement earlier this week that the Scottish Government plans to legislate to improve the quality and consistency of care for older people.

Nicola Sturgeon said integrating health and social care will break down barriers which have seen older people being held up in hospital because of disputes about cost and care.

Speaking on Monday, Ms Sturgeon said: “We will tackle the barriers that currently exist within Community Health Partnerships: division of accountability between the NHS and local authorities, insufficient and often unequal delegation of authority, budgets that are not integrated, leading to decisions about older people’s care too often being dependent on whose budget is affected, and poor clinical engagement.

“Our reforms will deliver a system that is effectively integrated, leading to better outcomes for older people and better use of resources.

“We will now work with partners in the NHS, local government, the third and independent sectors and professional bodies to develop detailed consultation material for public discussion and scrutiny.”

Community Health Partnerships would be replaced by Health and Social Care Partnerships which will become the joint responsibility of the NHS and the local authority and will work with the third and independent sectors, including the private sector.

NHS boards and local authorities will be required to produce integrated budgets for older people’s services to bring an end to so-called cost-shunting.

Ms Sturgeon said any reforms would be judged by the delivery of specific goals, such as reducing the number of delayed discharges from hospitals.