Earlier this year, the East Lothian Integration Joint Board approved its new three-year strategic plan and, at its October meeting, the IJB revealed more detail about how that plan will be delivered.

The key ideas underpinning the plan are delivering more care closer to home and taking a more community-based approach to delivering a wide range of services; better access to services at medical practices; faster assessment and clearer referral pathways, and a much greater focus on helping people to exercise choice and control over their care and live as independently as possible.

The community-based approach covers a number of areas including delivery of mental-health and substance abuse support locally instead of centrally; encouraging communities to become involved in supporting people with learning disabilities (through the Shared Lives Supported Landlord scheme and transforming community supports for adults with complex needs), and rolling out projects like Wellwynd Hub and START, which are rooted in their local communities.

ELHSCP already has a proven track record in successfully delivering care closer to home with services like Hospital to Home, Hospital at Home and Discharge to Assess, which help people avoid unnecessary hospital admission and prolonged stays in hospital when they are medically ready to come home. They have helped East Lothian sustain some of the of the lowest delayed discharge figures in Scotland over the last two years.

The new East Lothian Community Hospital will also be instrumental in keeping care closer to home. Some services have already been repatriated from Edinburgh, including Urology, Orthopaedics (musculoskeletal), Rheumatology, Gynaecology, Adult ENT and Audiology. The new hospital will also be hosting services new to East Lothian, for example, Plastic Surgery for hands, Adult Psychiatry, Ante-Natal services, Dietetics, and Palliative Care. We are also planning to host Paediatric ENT, Paediatric Audiology and Phototherapy.

The plan also details how the IJB and ELHSCP will also be playing key roles in developing phases 2 and 3 of the new Royal Edinburgh Infirmary and working alongside Hub South East and local communities in transforming services for older people.  We are already working closely with East Lothian Council’s Housing Team to maximise independent living for people with additional support needs. We have just begun meeting with East Lothian Council’s Transportation Team and third sector providers to design flexible and responsive transport arrangements for people requiring to travel to hospital and health appointments or services.

The plan also covers identification and support for carers, promoting more uptake of Self-Directed Support, and moving to more locally-based support for people living with dementia and their carers.

East Lothian IJB Chair Councillor Fiona O’Donnell says:

"This delivery plan is a big deal for users of health and social care services in East Lothian, and, really, that means all of us.  It takes the East Lothian IJB three-year strategic plan and shows how we mean to deliver it. It is ambitious, far-reaching, and, I think, far-sighted. It will mean changes for the better for many, many people.

"Our vision is to bring as many health and social care services as we can home to East Lothian, be they outpatients services, drug and alcohol services, mental-health services or accommodation for people with additional support needs. We want people to get the help they need at home or close to home, enabling them to remain part of their local community and taking the pressure off service-users and carers, in terms of time and travel.  We are also making sure that we champion East Lothian’s interests when it comes to the design of major NHS Lothian projects and ensuring that we keep tight control of funding arrangements for Lothian-wide services delivered by NHS Lothian.

"We are all about community and we think that’s where the future of health and social care in East Lothian lies – locally-based services that meet the needs of, belong to and involve our communities. Please try to find the time to read the delivery plan. I don’t think you will be disappointed."

Published: Thursday, 31st October 2019