A Scottish Parliament Committee is highly critical of outdated systems and ways of working in NHS Scotland and the social care system. It claims these are barriers to improvement.
The cross party Health and Sport Committee wants the Scottish Government to step in and take over these functions from local boards.
In their ‘Technology and Innovation Report issues which arose from their inquiry included “a disconnect between Scottish Government strategies and local delivery“.
The Committee chaired by Lewis MacDonald, Labour, would like to see some services centralised. They argue that this would be of the following advantages:
- simplified and standardised delivery
- increased compliance and consistency
- improved quality of service and support for staff
- improved customer service
- greater opportunities for sharing good practice, skills and expertise
- improved reporting and management information
- cost efficiencies through economies of scale
The inquiry also highlighted :
“the huge variation in the systems for recording data within NHS Scotland”
with mental health, primary care and maternity services using different programmes to record and access patient information. The sharing of data was exposed as being of particular concern.
IT systems for health care in prisons ‘was described as being “not fit for purpose”.’
IT systems being used in health care and social care were incompatible resulting in problems with data sharing. This was also an issue with hospices providing end of life palliative care.
The evidence from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Scotland revealed that:
“Pharmacists can access the emergency care summary, but they have to do it through NHS 24; there is no direct access even though that has been promised since 2014. We have to phone NHS 24 to gain access and often there are extra phone calls, which cost extra time. We have lobbied for a long time on that point.”
[Source: Health and Sport Committee 31 October 2017, Aileen Bryson, contrib. 4216]
The committee is recommending that the Scottish Government tackle the issue with urgency.
Lewis MacDonald said:
“When the Committee agreed to carry out this inquiry, members expected to investigate different ways where ground-breaking and innovative technologies could make dramatic changes to the way the health and social care sector operates. Instead, we’ve heard how a number of barriers are preventing change from happening.
“The Committee wants Scotland to remain a leader in health and social care and to do so we must make sure innovation flourishes. We are asking the Scottish Government to be bold and offer strong leadership to tackle these”
The Scottish Government is currently working with NHS Scotland on the “e – Health, Digital Health and Social Care Strategy 2017-22″.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame