Cole-Hamilton: Health and social care integration stalling

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that integrated joint boards are failing and the Government has no answers as a new report from auditors warned of serious financial pressures and a lack of effective strategic planning.

The report from the Accounts Commission and Auditor General, Health and Social Care Integration: Update on Progress, warns:

  • "Financial pressures make it difficult for integration authorities to make sustainable changes to the way services are delivered";
  • Integration authorities needed to achieve £222.5 million in savings in 2017/18, an increase of 8.4% on the previous year, and many needed to seek additional funds;
  • There is a risk that some IJBs "will not have sufficient resources to deliver the services needed in future years";
  • "Financial planning is not integrated, long term or focused on providing the best outcomes for people who need support";
  • There are significant barriers to effective strategic planning, including a lack of leadership and governance disputes.

Commenting on the report, Mr Cole-Hamilton said

"Integrated joint boards are not making the ground-breaking impact on health and social care that the Scottish Government promised.

"Services are facing major staffing problems and more than 1000 people are stuck in hospital at any one time, including people we have found there months on end. This causes an interruption in the flow of patients throughout the health service.

"This report paints the picture of a service with a real lack of joined up thinking and of public bodies operating in silos. These failings have been obvious for some time, yet the Scottish Government has no answers."

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