Involve staff in health and social care integration or watch reform fail

Date: Wed 17 April 2013

UNISON today warned that changes to services for the most vulnerable people must do more to involve staff or watch reform fail.

The public services union also said that Scottish Government plans to integrate health and social care services must maintain democratic accountability.

Speaking at the Scottish Trades Union Congress Annual Congress in Perth, UNISON Scotland Convener Lilian Macer listed four key principles for the STUC General Council to take to the Scottish Government:

Any attempts to open up the NHS to privatisation must be stopped; quality services, not cost-cutting must be a principle of integration; service users and staff must be at the centre of decision making; and democratic control is fundamental.

Lilian warned: “Real change comes when staff and service users work together planning how services should be delivered.

“All evidence shows that top down reorganisation won’t produce real integration. The focus must be on joint outcomes –agreed with local partners and relevant to their local circumstances.

“The proposals must have at their core the desire to improve services, not cut costs.”

And she blasted proposals for the new Community Health and Social Care Partnerships, to be run by a single individual – the Jointly Accountable Officer, responsible for a multi million pound budget of public money.

Lilian said: “Technically accountable to both the local authority and the health board the so-called jointly accountable officer will in reality be accountable to no one.”

UNISON has urged the Scottish Government to set in place a broad staffing framework, based on best practice, to cover a range of issues when public services are reformed.

These include: staff transfer, pensions, secondment, training and development, equality duties, governance and procurement – covering the protections that should prevent setting up a two tier workforce when services are contracted out.

Notes to Editors

UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working in the public sector.

UNISON’s submission to the Scottish Government consultation on the integration of adult health and social care in Scotland is at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/
IntegrationofAdultHealthandSocialCare_response_Sep2012.pdf

UNISON’s Bargaining Briefing on integration is at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/b032_BargainingBrief_
IntegrationofAdultHealth+SocialCare_Mar2013.pdf
.