Health and social care Integration Authorities 'tokenistic' when it comes to engagement, warn MSPs

Written by Tom Freeman on 12 September 2017 in News

Engagement by integration authorities with patients and third sector often a "tick box exercise", warns the Health and Sport Committee

Health and Sport Committee - Scottish Parliament

Integrated health and social care boards set up to run services seamlessly are not taking engagement with stakeholders seriously enough, a group of MSPs has warned.

Following an investigation into the running of the integrated authorities in their second year of operation, the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee found a lack of consistency in stakeholder engagement.

This is despite promises from government about the third and independent sectors being "key stakeholders" in integration, with community engagement built into the statutory guidance on commissioning.


During evidence sessions the committee heard concerns over engagement being ‘tokenistic’, ‘overly top down’ and ‘just communicating decisions that had already been made’.

The committee's convener Neil Findlay said: “We are now two years into the operation of IAs and they are clearly not working as intended. Too often we heard evidence from communities and health professionals saying this is not meaningful engagement, and a tick box approach is being applied. This needs to be fixed. 

“IAs have to deliver fundamental changes to the way local health and care services are planned and delivered. This requires people in communities not only to understand and support the approach taken but to be involved meaningfully in the process.

“Our Committee believes public engagement could be improved by having a dedicated community development staff member in each IA. 

“Our report asks the Scottish Government how it could encourage and support this approach, and we look forward to its response.”  


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