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Politics / IJB chair says board should have had more involvement in health and social care plan

North mainland councillor Emma Macdonald.

THE CHAIR of Shetland’s health and social care partnership says she shares concerns raised by council convener Malcolm Bell last week over the lack of input the board had in the creation of a plan detailing how services will resume in the wake of Covid-19.

Councillor Emma Macdonald said “going forward it is clear that we all need to communicate well and work together and that’s what we will do”.

During a meeting of the NHS Shetland board last week Bell said he was unhappy that the isles’ integration joint board (IJB), which brings together the NHS and Shetland Islands Council to oversee health and social care, had not had sight of a remobilisation plan for health and social care services.

The plan, setting out how the local health service aims to manage a backlog of planned care and ensure unmet demand is managed, was outlined to NHS Shetland board members last Tuesday.

Bell said that “much of what’s in this plan is core IJB business”.

In response NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson said last week that the plan had to be submitted to the requirements of Scottish Government and NHS Scotland.

He added that he was not aware of any change in the directions given out by the IJB – although he was “really open” if there was a desire to adjust them.

In response to Bell’s concerns, IJB chair Macdonald said she thought the board “should have had more involvement in the plan, and I think going forward we will make sure this is the case”.

“We can’t change what has happened with this plan but we can ensure it won’t happen again,” she added.

Macdonald said “a lot of the issues regarding the way the plan has been driven by the NHS is due to the ask of the Scottish Government”.

“Partnership working is something Shetland does incredibly well in all types of areas,” the councillor continued.

“Council services such as the care centres have been absolutely on the frontline of this pandemic and we need to ensure that all services are well represented.

“As chair of the IJB I will always do everything I can to ensure that all the services that fall under the IJB are well represented.”

The remobilisation plan covers a range of services and departments, from public health, pharmacy, community care and cancer care to mental health, infection control and human resources.

It covers the period between August this year and March 2021.