Integrating social and health care for people in Scotland means inspection bodies will need to change the way they inspect care services, the care watchdog said today.
As well as continuing robust and unannounced inspections of individual care services, the Care Inspectorate will in future look at how well they work together to improve the lives of people who may be vulnerable.
The Care Inspectorate is already working with others to develop a new strategic scrutiny model, focusing on specific local areas across Scotland. It will now review its methodology for inspecting individual care services as well.
The remarks were made by the Care Inspectorate’s new Director of Inspection, Dr Robert Peat. He was speaking at a conference in Edinburgh about the plans to integrate the social care and health care systems in Scotland.
Dr Robert Peat, Director of Inspection, said: “Social care and health care are coming together to make sure people who may be vulnerable have better lives.
“The value of our inspections is that they are unannounced, rigorous and based on risk. Our inspection teams are bolstered by our health professionals such as pharmacists, dieticians, and specialists in infection control, general practice, palliative care and tissue viability.
“The Care Inspectorate will continue to robustly inspect every single care home and care service in Scotland, but we are now planning what changes we need in the way we do it.
“In the past, attention was focused on good inputs: checking whether are staff well-trained, rooms clean, and meals appropriate. We won’t stop asking those questions, but integration means we need to start asking some others. People and their families need to know that the services caring for them dovetail properly with other local services.
“We need to think not just of care services, but of care journeys: the paths that people take to get the care they need, not just the different buildings they stop off at on the way.
“That is why we are reviewing how the Care Inspectorate tests quality in the services we inspect. It isn’t enough for a nursing home or care at home service to work in isolation – even if it is meeting the highest standards. All services in a local area must work together closely if things are to improve for older people.
“The new joint inspections of services for older people, where we are working closely with other agencies, show some of the ways we can do that, but in the coming months we will be speaking to people across Scotland about how we can best provide them with the assurance they want.”