Health and social care services in East Lothian set to merge

News — By on June 12, 2015 12:17 pm

Health & Social CareEAST Lothian Councillors have approved plans to merge health and social care services in the county.The services will now be overseen by a joint board of local authority and NHS Lothian staff in an effort to provide a better service.However, the plans were met with some scepticism at a meeting of East Lothian Council on Tuesday, with some councillors describing past relations with NHS bosses as less than cordial. SNP opposition leader Councillor Stuart Currie, who will sit on the board, said some meetings in the past had been like “Mexican stand-offs”.And independent councillor David Berry claimed some senior NHS staff had created their own “fiefdoms”.He said: “I have nothing but respect for the front line staff but I have firsthand experience of some of the administrators of the NHS and I have been, quite frankly, underwhelmed.“There are some back room staff who need a kick up the bum.”Under the new arrangements, a joint director will be responsible to the chief executives of NHS Lothian and East Lothian Council and the Integrated Joint Board for delivering integrated services.Beneath the joint director there will be six senior management posts, one of which will be the chief social work officer and one the chief nurse.These posts are responsible for leading both health and social care services and will be joint appointments between NHS Lothian and East Lothian Council. Four East Lothian councillors were approved to join the joint board as voting members – Stuart Currie (SNP), Shamin Akhtar, Jim Goodfellow and Donald Grant (all Lab). They will join NHS representatives Mike Ash, Professor John Iredale, Alex Joyce and Graeme Warner.Councillor Donald Grant, the council’s adult health and social care spokesperson, said: This has been an enormously complicated process and I would like to thank staff in the council, the NHS and the unions for the huge contributions they have made to the process already. “It’s also very important to recognize the wide consultation that has taken place. This is a very big change to the way we work, but it’s one that many, many people have asked for over the years. I feel that we can only gain by sharing resources and working closer together to ensure the best possible health and social care support for people when and where they need it.


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