5 August 2014
UNISON urges Edinburgh council to keep local people’s
say over care services
UNISON will urge Edinburgh council to stick to
its joint plan with the NHS for integrating health
and social care services at today’s Corporate
Policy and Strategy Committee (Tuesday 5 August
2014 10am City Chambers).
The union says the ‘body corporate’
plan is the best way to ensure local people keep
their local say over services, while ensuring fully
joined up working with the NHS.
At this late stage, with only seven months to
implementation, the union expects moves to ditch
the joint project in favour of passing everything
across to the NHS. This is despite two years of
joint planning by the council and the NHS, along
with the unions, to build a jointly led integrated
UNISON officer Kirsten Hey, who works as an Occupational
Therapist, will warn councillors that any change
to plans at this stage would “cause extreme
disruption to the integration process”.
She will warn that transferring everything to the
NHS would create legal problems for the council
like its duty to provide Mental Health Officers,
confusion about the legal role of the Chief Social
Work Officer when the people she is responsible
for are working for another agency, and the host
of problems that will come in terms of continuity
of service, pay, conditions, pensions and professional
The union will quote evidence from Northern Ireland
and New Zealand that single budget, medical led
services end up with resources being diverted away
from local community supports.
Kirsten Hey will say: “We feel strongly
that it is in everybody’s interests for integration
to work well. A joint board model is the best way
to achieve integrated services leading to better
outcomes for the people of Edinburgh.
“It will retain council control of social
care services, with all the democratic accountability
that goes along with that. It will retain the council’s
credibility in the eyes of the public who voted
for you to run our services, not transfer them elsewhere.
“That means local people keep their local
say over services, while ensuring they benefit from
fully joined up working with the NHS.
“And even more importantly than all of those
things, it will enable the integration process to
proceed without interruption so that we can all
get on with what we want and need to do –
improving health and social care services for the
people of this city.”
by Murdo MacLean and Kirsten Hey