New health and care partnership pledges seamless services for Aberdeen communities

Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership will be launched this week, bringing NHS and Aberdeen City Council services together to benefit local communities.

The new Partnership will deliver adult primary health care and adult social care to the people of Aberdeen, with a total annual revenue budget of some £250million.

The organisation will be jointly responsible for people's health and care needs and for ensuring folk receive co-ordinated services which are as seamless as possible. ACHSCP will oversee the formation of integrated, multi-skilled teams – comprising, for example, GPs, community nurses, social workers, voluntary sector colleagues and mental health nurses – who will work to support patients in the community and avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital.

The Partnership is overseen by an Integration Joint Board (IJB), made up of representatives from the local authority and the NHS, along with voluntary sector, carer, patient and service-user representatives.

IJB chair Councillor Len Ironside CBE said: "The integration of health and social care is designed to bring about improvements in the way services are provided for people by making sure health and social care is tailored to people's individual needs.

"Partnership is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The ACHSCP and the IJB will ensure people get the care and support they need in the right place, at the right time, in the right setting.

"The aim is to help people maintain their independence for as long as possible, in their own homes and communities, with fewer people needing hospital care."

ACHSCP Chief Officer Judith Proctor said: "Services for people can be improved by working as joint health and social care teams, in close co-operation with the third and independent sectors, and with a single budget. We believe we can provide better, more personalised and more efficient services that way, achieving better health and care outcomes for our citizens and more fulfilling jobs for those who work in health and care.

"The Partnership starts from the principle of person-centred care, with an emphasis on prevention and anticipation. That means finding ways for people in need of care to create partnerships around themselves in the four localities we are establishing in Aberdeen – North, South, West and Central.

"Our population is changing and so we need to change the relationship we have with people, by supporting more self-care and self-management and more joined-up and seamless care for those we work with. Integration of health and care is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to reshape our services and make them agile enough to work well for the people of Aberdeen in the decades ahead."

IJB vice-chair Jonathan Passmore said: "Integration isn't about saving money – it's about a fundamental shift in the way health and social care delivers for a population with increasingly complex needs and growing numbers of older people.

"The Aberdeen City Partnership has a significant budget of £250million with which to provide services for our citizens.

"But the challenges ahead of us are clear. Resourcing the huge array of services for which we are responsible will require imagination and creativity. But we have a substantial budget available to us from Aberdeen City Council and NHS Grampian which, aligned to integrated teams in our localities, will allow us to develop new ways of meeting people's needs and ultimately reduce or delay those needs."

The ACHSCP is one of 31 Health & Social Care Partnerships which are being formed across Scotland as part of an ambitious Scottish Government programme to improve health and social care. The Partnership's pooled £251.7million annual revenue budget for 2016/17 comprises £88.2million from Aberdeen City Council and £163.5million from NHS Grampian.

Legislation heralding health and social care integration was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2014 and comes into force on 1st April this year. The legislation outlines essential integration milestones that must be satisfied within prescribed timescales.

The Aberdeen Partnership's Strategic Plan was agreed by the IJB yesterday [Tues 29 March] and will be published on 1st April, marking the formal delegation of adult health and social care to the ACHSCP. The document is the new organisation's statement of intent on how integrated health and social care services will contribute to achieving Scotland's national health and wellbeing outcomes as set out by the Scottish Government.