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Edinburgh Councillor Calls For Tech to be Used More Effectively in Social Care

Dominique Adams


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In the face of major budget-cuts, Edinburgh health chiefs have earmarked funding for their transformational plan for the city’s health and social care partnership. 

Edinburgh’s Health and Social Care Partnership programme will ‘set-aside’ £2 million to help push forward its transformational plan that will include community-based crisis management.

The partnership’s transformational programme will focus on three strands; well-being and prevention, community and hospital based crisis management, and supporting people to live at home and in bed-based care.

The purpose of the transformation strategy is to “reduce dependency on the health and care institutions and focus the resources with the system to those who most need them” and “working with people at the earliest possible point”.

Previously, the partnership has struggled to meet targets, particularly in the areas of delayed discharge, people waiting for care, assessment and review, although improvements have been made. However, next year the service will be required to make £29 million of cuts, despite the urgent need to revamp how services are delivered due to the city’s growing, ageing population.

Judith Proctor, chief officer of the partnership, said: “It represents the next iteration of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board’s (IJB) strategic change ambitions. Edinburgh is large and complex. We are doing a lot of things well and we want to create a very structured approach of how we deliver that work.

“We well know some of the financial challenges that face us but we also recognise that in order to achieve change of this scale, we will need to have capacity across our system in support of that complex change,” she added.

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Proctor, who submitted a report to the board, said in order to “reshape a health and care system fit for a sustainable future,” there must be a radical shift in thinking and acting. The IJB has acknowledged that investment is required to bring about a serious culture change.

“By working together and collectively we would be able to create new and sustainable services which keep people independent and well for as long as possible and, where services are needed, they are delivered at or as close to home as possible and are sustainable within a reducing public finance envelope,” she added.

Vice-chairwoman Carolyn Hirst emphasised the critical need for IJB to push ahead with the Edinburgh model of transformation. “I don’t think we can under-estimate the challenges for our statutory partners – this different way of working. We will be working with people rather than doing things to people,” she said.

She added: “It’s a fundamentally different way of approaching how we work – it genuinely is transformational. I think we have to take this seriously and I think we have to embrace this.”

Chief financial officer of the IJB, Moira Pringle told the board that the £2 million to be set aside in the reserves was “our best estimate” as to additional funding that was required and would likely be provided “over a two or three-year period”.

Conservative Cllr Susan Webber and Proctor both called for intensified urgency in using technology more effectively. “There’s so much potential around the use of technology that we have not embraced – I don’t think we will have that fully achieved by 2020,” said Proctor.

“What I would want us to have is a clear vision as a health and social care partnership about where we will be applying technology and support for people and for our teams and for our staff. We are looking for a really clear plan on how we embed digital technology across everything that we do,” she added.

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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