The Public Bodies (Joint Working) Act and associated regulations set out the Scottish Government’s plans for health and care integration in Scotland. While there are two broad models in the legislation, most councils and health boards are adopting the integrated joint board option. These new boards will be responsible for a substantial proportion of health and social care in their localities. The details are set out in UNISON Briefings.
Health and care integration is not new in Scotland. This is the latest attempt to deliver effective joint working, building on a number of initiatives over the past 12 years. This means members have experience of joint working and views on how it can effectively be delivered. UNISON is by far the largest trade union in this sector across the NHS, council, voluntary and private sector service providers.
Throughout the legislative process, while we welcomed integration, we expressed concerns that workforce issues were not given sufficient attention. Structures are important, but these services are delivered by people not robots. In this survey of the staff concerned, we hear the voices of those workers who will have to try to make the new arrangements work.
We undertook a survey of health and local authority social work staff to find out their views on current proposals for integration of health and social care, whether they perceived any problems and to ask how they viewed they might be solved.