‘Historic’ day for health and social care

Cecil Smith.
Cecil Smith.

THE FIRST meeting of the new committee that controls Shetland’s £19 million social care budget took place in Lerwick town hall on Monday morning.

The occasion was described as “historic” by the new Integration Joint Board’s chairman, councillor Cecil Smith.

Monday’s meeting was the culmination of years of preparation in line with the Scottish government’s drive to integrate council-run social services departments and health care provided by the NHS.


The new board is made up of three councillors Cecil Smith, Billy Fox and Gary Cleaver, and three NHS Shetland health board members Catriona Waddington, who is the committee’s vice-chair, Keith Massey and Marjorie Williamson.

On Monday the six appointed a number of health and social care professionals as non-voting members to the committee.

They are:

  • Local GP Dr Susan Bowie;
  • Clinician Dr Jim Unsworth;
  • Lead nurse for community Edna Watson;
  • Chief social worker Martha Nicolson;
  • Harold Massie, the chairman of the Shetland Public Partnership Forum;
  • Carers’ representative Sue Beer;
  • Catherine Hughson of Voluntary Action Shetland; and
  • staff representatives Suzanne Gens and Ian Sandilands.

Meanwhile the committees lead officers will be director of community health and social care Simon Bokor-Ingram and NHS Shetland’s head of finance Karl Williamson.


Integration joint boards are being formed in all 32 Scottish local authority areas. Shetland was one of 14 to hold their inaugural meeting on Monday.

The council’s social service committee will be disbanded once the new committee is fully up and running.

Smith stressed that the changes would cut out a lot of duplication and bureaucracy without affecting those receiving social care.

“What I want to see as chair is good partnership working between the two organisations, but most important is the delivery of the best outcomes for the people who require the services being offered through the Integration Joint Board,” he said


The move is part of the government’s policy for people receiving social and health care to be treated and to remain in the community for as long as possible.

Waddington said the new committee reflected that aspiration and would enable both the council and the health board to better respond to challenges posed by demographic changes.

The next meeting of the committee is 29 July.