Plans for the integration of health and social care services in Scottish Borders were outlined at a meeting in Galashiels last week.
Elaine Torrance, newly appointed Joint Programme Director for Health & Social Care Integration with Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders, was the guest speaker at the AGM of Borders Voluntary Care Voice.
She told members that legislation currently going through the Scottish Parliament – the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill – aims to implement the Scottish Government’s commitment to achieve greater integration between health and social care services. Integration is seen as a way of improving both the quality and efficiency of services
Plans are still at an early stage in the Borders but it is proposed to integrate adult health and social work services first. The combined spend for services between the organisations is currently £100 million. There has already been progress in the integration of learning disability and mental health services.
Decisions have still to be made about the integration model locally, which will determine how staff will be managed and located.
“Improved outcomes are vital. The partnership needs to deliver outcomes for patients, service users and carers and the public,” explained Elaine. “Plans have to be put in place that will detail what has to be done, and how it will be done, and there will be wide engagement and dialogue with other sectors and the public.”
Elaine stressed the importance of ensuring that Borders Voluntary Care Voice, its members, service users and carers were involved in the process.
At the AGM, Borders Voluntary Care Voice, formerly called Borders Voluntary Community Care Forum (BVCCF), also launched its new brand.
Chair Margaret Simpson said: “The new name is linked to a change in our charitable status. We have become a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). The decision to go through this change was driven by: changes in the health and social care landscape in the Scottish Borders and nationally; an internal review and redesign of our service; the requirement to build stronger engagement with members; a need to reduce liability for trustees.”
She added: “BVCCF was set up in 1991. Since then, we have represented the interests of service users and carers and the local third sector in the planning and provision of community care. Under our new name, our aim is to continue to offer the high quality, independent services that we have always delivered and to look at new ways of engaging with the sector, the statutory services and service users and carers.
“We would like to thank our funders, Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders, for their financial support and for continuing to recognise the contribution we can make to health and social care in our area.”
Margaret is pictured (left) with Elaine.