The Care Inspectorate has just released a report into the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership – the body which delivers care services for all adults and older people on behalf of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board formed by the council and NHS Lothian – and the outcome is largely a positive one.

The Partnership is also charged with dealing with primary care, mental health and disability services.

An original inspection in 2017 made several recommendations for improvement including the need for increased funding and better delivery of the various services. While most of these have been improved upon there are other “important areas which require further work and resources to support on-going improvement”.

Areas where improvement has been made include using new approaches in assessing what care is needed and reducing waiting times for assessment and access to services. There is high level improvement of the way the partnership is run and a five year plan is now in place.

One concept adopted by the partnership has improved what is called the “falls pathway”.

This means improving outcomes for older people either at risk of falling or who had fallen. By providing support to care homes more falls have been prevented, and something as simple as a poster to explain what to do when someone falls has made a real difference. During the pandemic Red Cross Staying Active packs were provided to people who were shielding or at risk of falling. These had crosswords and advice on exercises that older people could do at home.

The overall conclusion in the report is that progress overall is positive and no further review is planned.

Chair of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board, Ricky Henderson said: “We very much welcome this latest and final review, and the deserved recognition it gives all who work for, and with the Partnership. “The publication of the report in 2017, was a difficult read for all who were working in the Partnership at the time but the strategic vision, practices, and structures that have since been developed and implemented, are the backbone to the significant and good progress being made.

“Whilst there remain challenges – particularly with the current system pressures faced – the strengthened relationships built, strategic aims, and the cohesive approach to the work of the partnership, deserve this positive recognition. These are significant strengths for how the partnership will continue to push forward over the challenging winter period and beyond, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank every single person who directly or indirectly provides care in Edinburgh, for their incredible hard work and commitment to all in our care.”

Edinburgh City Chambers. Photo: Martin P. McAdam