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Reform of care for Scotland's older people needs to accelerate

6th February 2014

Photograph of Reform of care for Scotland's older people needs to accelerate

Scotland's programme to improve care for older people has brought together the different bodies involved in services costing £4.5 billion a year. These organisations now need to better target resources at preventing or delaying illness and at helping people to keep living at home.

An Audit Scotland report published today, Reshaping care for older people Reshaping care for older people , reviews progress three years into the Scottish Government's ten-year project to improve health and social services for people aged 65 or over. It is one of Scotland's biggest and most complex programmes and involves NHS, local government, voluntary and private bodies. The Government is supporting it with a four-year, £300 million Change Fund.

The report says:
 Improving care for older people and joining up services has been a policy focus for several years
but progress has been slow, and monitoring of its implementation and impact needs to improve
 The Scottish Government needs to work with its partners to clearly plan how resources will move from institutions such as hospitals into the community. They also need to better understand why activity and spending on services for older people varies across Scotland

 The Change Fund has brought bodies from the different sectors together to develop and agree joint local plans to improve care, and a number of local initiatives are underway

 The information needed to make decisions and assess their impact on older people is not nationally available. Bodies need to improve and maintain data on costs, activity and outcomes
for health and care services.

Auditor General for Scotland, Caroline Gardner, said: "Reshaping the care Scotland's older people receive is crucial to helping people live long, healthy and independent lives, and to making sure services can provide the care and support needed. It is a large and complex programme, involving many organisations and significant amounts of public money.

While there has been progress, particularly in bringing bodies together, change has been slow.

"The Scottish Government is three years into the ten-year programme. Our report makes
recommendations aimed at helping accelerate change, particularly given the growing pressure on services and the integration of health and social care. In particular, we want to see better information for making decisions and assessing impact, and the government and its partners to be clearer about how to move resources from institutions, like hospitals, to community-based services."

Chair of the Accounts Commission for Scotland, Douglas Sinclair, said: "The aim of providing more services in the community has been a clearly-stated goal for at least a decade, but progress in doing it is slow and inconsistent. There are significant variations in the spending and activity in care for older people across Scotland, even though much has been done to build local partnerships and launch initiatives. Councils, the NHS and their voluntary and private sector partners need to understand why this is and how they can improve these important services."

Scottish Government 10 Year Programme -
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/Support-Social-Care/Support/Older-People/ReshapingCare

Change Fund Plans
http://www.jitscotland.org.uk/action-areas/reshaping-care-for-older-people/change-fund-plans/

The Caithness District Partneship meets to discuss issues regarding health and social work for adutls and children. Members of the public can ask for issues to be discussed by completing a form to be found at - http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/yourward/ward04/caithnessdistrictpartnership.htm

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