The Scottish Government has just launched its delivery plan for health and social care. Sneaked out before the festive break, it’s the first time I’ve seen the two elements integrated in a joint approach. Significantly, the first sentence of the document includes the word ‘prevention’.
The plan talks about moving away from a ‘fix and treat’ approach to care. This is a big deal for our sector. It means statutory authorities will now look for the best way to focus on prevention, anticipation and supporting self-management – all classic third sector territory.
despite austerity, there appears to be money to back this up
From community solutions such as self-help groups, to lunch clubs, befriending, care and repair, and community food growing, the third sector has always recognised that a more preventative, human rights-based approach, means shifting from a medical model of care to a social model, where people are supported to help themselves and each other to prevent crisis.
Most importantly, and despite austerity, there appears to be money to back this up. The finance secretary Derek Mackay announced an increased 11% of NHS budgets will be spent on primary and community care by 2021. This will include £107m more for community-based care, £10m for preventative mental health services, and £10m for care worker sleepovers.
As you might imagine, the next steps will involve introducing new structures to manage all of this, including national bodies around public health, regional clinical strategies, workforce development and out-of-hours community support.
It’s critical that our sector gets in the game to ensure the agenda doesn’t snap back to a model of professionals just doing things to people.