Radical Edinburgh health & care changes promised

Three-year timetable set out for ‘very ambitious’ reform plans

Thursday 22nd August 2019

Edinburgh health chiefs have promised radical changes to health and social care services in the capital by 2022.

They admit the ‘very ambitious’ plans could be seen as ‘difficult to deliver’ but insist they can stick to a tight three-year timetable.

Included in the proposals is a pledge to draw up an ‘Edinburgh Offer’ setting out what residents can expect from them.

This will be ‘transparent and realistic’ as public expectations are ‘increasing out of balance with our ability to deliver under current models’.

The health and care strategic plan was approved by Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (IJB) earlier this week.

Under the masterplan, Edinburgh residents can expect more care to be provided outside of hospitals by 2022, with wrap-around support teams helping people recover in their own homes.

Meanwhile, different services will be streamlined in a bid to cut costs.

 “Edinburgh’s population is expected to increase faster than any other city in Scotland,” says Ricky Henderson, IJB vice chair.

“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.

The arrival of an additional 5,250 residents to Edinburgh since last year has compounded the challenge of rising demand, particularly in primary care.

“We need to accept that the status quo is unsustainable in the long term,” adds Mr Henderson. “…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.”

Judith Proctor, IJB chief officer, 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.”

Ella Simpson from Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (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 IJB, 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.”