Partnership should be at heart of health and social care reform, says Health Committee


The voluntary sector and independent providers of care should have a greater role in delivering integrated health and social care, according to a report published today by the Health and Sport Committee.

The report was the result of an inquiry into the proposed creation of health and social care partnerships, designed to bridge the gap between the NHS and local authority services. 

Committee Convener Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“The Committee welcomes many aspects of the Scottish Government’s plans. We concluded that future integration needs to avoid being driven by structural change: instead, it must have at its heart a clear focus on outcomes for patients, service users and carers.

“We are unanimous that in order to be effective, the new health and social care partnerships must re-engage general practitioners and other healthcare professionals in planning services for their local areas.”

As part of the overhaul of Community Health Partnerships, the report also recommends that:

  • Reform should be outcome focussed and provide flexibility at a local
    level to deliver effective care;
  • NHS Board and local authority budgets need to be genuinely integrated. The inability of local authorities and NHS boards to do this has acted as a barrier to health and social care integration;
  • A review of third and independent sector partner involvement in Change Fund planning should be undertaken to ensure their full involvement in commissioning new services. The Change Fund was set up to stimulate and support a shift in the balance of care for patients at a local level.

Deputy Convener Bob Doris MSP said:

“We received evidence from many sources that the existing structure of Community Health Partnerships, which were intended to improve joint working between health boards and local authorities, was in need of an overhaul.

“Another crucial feature of the new partnerships will be the involvement of representatives from the third and independent sectors. They need a direct say in the future design and commissioning of new services and wider partnership arrangements if the improvements we all want to see are to be delivered on the ground.”

Click here to see the full report into the integration of health and social care integration.  


In December 2011, the Scottish Government announced plans to integrate adult health and social care. On 24 January 2012 the Health and Sport Committee agreed to undertake a short inquiry into the Government’s plans. The Scottish Government has not yet consulted on its intended legislation and this report should be seen as a contribution by the Committee to that process.

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