New vision for health and social care in the Capital

Ambitious plans for redefining health and social care services in Edinburgh have been published.

Edinburgh health and social care partnership
Edinburgh health and social care partnership

The Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB), which oversees the delivery of services which support the wellbeing of adults in the Capital, says it will radically transform the way Edinburgh delivers its health and social care services over the next three year planning cycle and beyond.

Under its new Strategic Plan, approved on Tuesday (20 August), the EIJB says it will further integrate Council and NHS services to deliver an ‘affordable, sustainable and trusted health and social care system’ under its vision for a caring, healthier and safer Edinburgh.

Commenting, Ricky Henderson, Vice Chair of the EIJB, said: “Edinburgh’s population is expected to increase faster than any other city in Scotland and with that comes a number of very real challenges. The number of residents who are aged 85+ is expected to more than double over the next 20 years. We need to accept that the status quo is unsustainable in the long term and our care systems need to evolve. Our Strategic Plan identifies new ways of delivering care so that we can better meet the current and future needs of Edinburgh citizens and, crucially, work to improve the population’s overall wellbeing.”

As part of the Strategic Plan, a bespoke ‘Edinburgh Offer’ or pact will tackle inequalities so that age, disability, and health conditions are no longer barriers to living a safe and thriving life. Promising better collaboration between healthcare providers and local communities and working closely with the Council's housing and homelessness services, the Edinburgh Offer will focus on helping people to live independently for longer, shifting the balance of care from hospitals to the community under a ‘Home First’ approach.

A move towards a more flexible way of working is planned with the transformation of the EIJB's services, to reduce overlap, modernise systems and concentrate resources in new ways. A preventative and person-centred approach to care will be championed under what is hailed the ‘Three Conversations Approach’, which will promote tailored care for each individual, in a place which is best for them, as early as possible.

Judith Proctor, Chief Officer for the EIJB, added: “This is the first step on a long journey which will only work if we improve integration and redesign certain services. Our plans are very ambitious because we need to be bold - Edinburgh deserves the very best that we can offer.

“That’s why at the heart of this Plan is a desire to improve the experience of patients, families and carers across the board. The conventional approach to care makes people wait for an assessment and is about processes, not people. That’s something I’m passionate about changing. We need to abandon the jargon and work in a way which is much more meaningful for families.”

Details of the Strategic Plan’s vision and values have been published following a 77% approval rating on a draft which was published in March. A public consultation on the draft plan engaged over 450 people including citizens, carers, health and social care professionals and partners in the third and independent sector and included 106 online results, which saw 78% of respondents agree with the EIJB’s proposed intent to concentrate resources in the community rather than hospital settings. A further 76% agreed with the principles of a redefined Edinburgh Offer.

The consultation feedback has fully informed the final version of the Strategic Plan which is a significant re-write of the initial draft released in March.  

Ella Simpson from EVOC said: “It is so important for Edinburgh’s voluntary and community organisations to have a voice and shape decisions which are made about health and social care. That’s why EVOC, as a board member of the EIJB, has been heavily involved in the development of the Strategic Plan.

“The voluntary and community sector has been involved throughout the development of this plan and our intimate knowledge and understanding of people's needs are reflected in the plan. The result is a collaborative vision.  The hard work starts now as we work together to realise the ambition of the plan.”

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