The snappily titled Public Bodies (Joint working) Scotland Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament at the end of February, which means it now becomes law.
This new Act sets out the structure and legal framework for making health and social care work together. The aim is to change how services are provided in favour of preventive services, rather than reactive services – a good example for MS might be access to good community continence services, rather than admission to hospital with urinary tract infection.
The Scottish government plans to disband Community Health Partnerships and replace them with integrated community partnerships, which will have pooled health and social care budgets and be responsible for providing both sets of services at a local level.
What organisations have to do will be defined through regulations, which have not yet been published. There will be a ‘minimum scope’, which will include social care services, primary care health services, and probably some services provided by acute hospitals. The implication is that successful organisations may include more services than the minimum. Regulations will also set out national outcomes for health and wellbeing. These are likely to be high level, general improvements in health such as reducing the number of premature deaths. No timescale has been given for publishing the regulations.
Alice Hamilton, Policy Officer