NHS and council to integrate social care

NHS and South Ayrshire Council staff are to integrate health and social care services from next month.

This year the Scottish Parliament approved the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill for the integration of health and social care, paving the way for the creation of three Health and Social Care Partnerships in East, North and South Ayrshire.

In the course of 2014/15, each partnership will have one, integrated budget for delivering services that improve outcomes, and will be led by a new joint post – Director of Health and Social Care – reporting jointly to the Chief Executive of NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the Chief Executive of the Council.

South Ayrshire Partnership’s Director is Tim Eltringham, who will take up his post this summer.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran and South Ayrshire Council teams have been working together for some time to plan how they will use this opportunity to improve outcomes for patients and service users.

From April 2015 three Integration Joint Boards will be responsible for health and social care services throughout Ayrshire and Arran.

In preparation for this handover, Shadow Integration Boards (SIBs) will oversee services. SIBs are made up of non-executive and clinical director members of the NHS Board and local councillors.

Initially they will also include clinicians/professionals, a service user, a carer, representatives from the third sector and independent sectors, and two staff representatives (one from NHS Ayrshire & Arran and one from the council). Further discussion is underway on expanding the representative membership. Health care staff and council officers will also be involved.

Tim Eltringham said: “The creation of the Partnerships is a wonderful opportunity to improve the way our teams work together to achieve the healthiest life possible for people in our local communities. Staff won’t change employer – health staff will still be employed by the NHS and social services staff by the local council.

“But we will be able to plan and deliver services in a more joined-up way, which means we can anticipate and respond more effectively to the health and social care needs of the people who use our services.”

All social work services currently delivered by South Ayrshire Council will be included in the new South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership.

Detailed arrangements regarding the timing of the inclusion of certain services over the shadow year have yet to be determined; however, all services will be in place by 1 April 2015, when the new Partnership is formally established.