Health and Social Care: engagement must be more than a tick box exercise
The warning follows a parliamentary inquiry into the extent to which the public, service users, the third sector and independent sector are being involved effectively in the work of IAs.
In its report published today, the Committee found a lack of consistency in stakeholder engagement across IAs, that are now in their second year of operation across Scotland.
The committee heard evidence from a range of organisations including Alzheimer Scotland, the Coalition of Carers, the Royal College of Physicians and RCN Scotland.
While some areas of good practice were cited on stakeholder engagement, the committee heard concerns over engagement being ‘tokenistic’, ‘overly top down’ and ‘just communicating decisions that had already been made’.
The Committee believes a piecemeal approach to engagement with stakeholders cannot continue, and that meaningful engagement is fundamental to the successful integration of health and social care services.
Health and Sport Committee convener Neil Findlay MSP 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.”