Public urged to get behind services

A report to the Midlothian Intergration Joint Board has said that public support for new integrated services is vital.
A report to the Midlothian Intergration Joint Board has said that public support for new integrated services is vital.

People need to get behind their local health and care services if they are to have any chance of succeeding in the future.

Health chiefs have said the only way forward is to win over the public as they make changes to the way they operate under new integrated services.

A report to this week’s Midlothian Integration Joint Board, which oversees the services, warns failing to explain changes to the way they work is not an option.

It says: “Transforming health and care services will only succeed if the people of Midlothian understand the changes being considered are able to influence these and are prepared to support them.”

The board’s annual accounts show an underspend of £900,000 at the end of the financial year from its income of just over £138million. There were overspends on community hospital projects and GP prescribing costs, however they were offset by an underspend in general medical services and the failure of other projects to complete on time.

Social care services saw a siginificant overspend within adult services which specifically affected people with learning and physical disabilities, but this pressure was offset by an underspend in services for older people. The board also received an additional £1.2m from Midlothian Council which had been carried forward from the previous year.

The management team said a communication and engagement plan in relation to realistic care has been developed and is being implemented to help people understand new ways of working under the integrated services. The Realistic Care Realistic Expectations programme was introduced to look at ways to save through efficiency and design more sustainable individual care packages with the emphasis on prevention. It is also looking at ways to involve communities in consultations and the decision-making process as well as explaining some of the decisions taken.

Despite coming in under budget, the management team warns the board still faces key challenges and risks.

It said: “There remains a series of uncertainties; it remains difficult for the partners to recruit elements of the workforce to deliver its functions, eg GPs, district nurses and care workers. The increasing population remains a challenge which may exacerbate the staffing pressures, the financial position for the UK and Scotland remains uncertain and this will provide a challenge to the amount of financial resources available.”