A Care Inspectorate progress review of services for older people in the Western Isles, undertaken in May 2018, indicated that the partnership had delivered “an impressive amount of improvement” since the inspection team last visited in 2015.
In particular, the report highlights the benefits of a modernised homecare service, the introduction of a more coordinated approach to managing discharge from hospital and more robust community engagement structures. The original joint inspection (in June 2015) had identified some strengths in the delivery of services for older people in the Western Isles but had also identified a number of weaknesses and twelve recommendations for improvement were made. Following the inspection, the partnership drew up a detailed action plan to deliver the required improvements and has subsequently monitored its implementation.
The report from the re-inspection undertaken in May 2018 states that “the partnership is in a much better place than when we visited in 2015. From our meetings with staff and managers at all levels, partner organisations, and with community representatives, we witnessed a much stronger sense of integration and a determination to work collaboratively and take a whole-system approach.” The report also comments that “Encouragingly, we found that leadership at key senior strategic levels was much improved” and that an important reason for the improvement could be found in “a determination by the council and the health board to work together to take advantage of the benefits which integration could offer.” The Report concludes: “Given the positive findings from our review, we do not intend to conduct any further scrutiny in relation to this inspection.”
Cllr Kenny John Macleod, Chairman of the Integration Joint Board, commented on the findings of the report: “We are obviously very pleased to see the improvements delivered by staff across health and social care. There has been concerted action at all levels to better support older people in the Western Isles and it is good that this has been recognised by the inspection team. When the first inspection was undertaken in 2015 it was not uncommon to see older people stuck in hospital for many months – but we have witnessed a vast improvement in that area over the last few years. That has been helped by stronger community care services and by joint working across the NHS, Council and voluntary sector. The Integration Joint Board has brought all stakeholders together to plan for the needs of our local population together.
“We know, of course, that we have more to do. We still face major challenges in relation to the recruitment of staff and we are still working through big programmes of reform which we hope will bring further benefits to older people who need support. But we are determined to make a success of this so that the people who use our services are able to access high quality care and support when they need it.”