With healthcare provision increasingly shifting from hospitals, care homes and other institutional settings to care in the home, the role of good transport solutions in enhancing people’s independence and quality of life has been brought into sharper focus.
Providing safe, efficient transport for older and disabled people is one of the key challenges facing the Reshaping Care agenda currently being pursued in partnership by the Scottish Government, COSLA and NHSScotland. There is a shared recognition of the strategic importance of ensuring adequate access to transportation as key to quality of life, and an essential element in rebalancing healthcare provision towards people’s needs rather than institutional models, particularly where health and social care settings exist in increasingly dispersed locations. In simple, everyday terms, that means people from all parts of Scotland can access safe, reliable and efficient local transportation services available where they want, and when it is needed.
We believe there are tremendous opportunities to make better use of existing transport resources to improve the quality and range of services of those who need transport with care. That means an integrated transport system that cross-cuts public transport and community transport structures as well as healthcare services provided by local authorities and health boards. It means agreeing on a shared, collective vision which makes sense to people across Scotland, and defines how best to put ideas into practice. And it means sensible and fruitful collaboration where this is possible between different statutory and voluntary agencies on matters like sharing fleets and servicing, routing and planning services. The aim is not only to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste but, crucially, to provide people with the means to access services leading to the best possible healthcare outcomes.
We want to improve transport coordination so that it helps to meet Scotland’s smarter and greener National Outcomes as well as benefiting a range of other associated outcomes including those for Community Care involving improved health, well-being, social inclusion, and independence.
Since its inception the JIT has contributed to preparatory work and has helped highlight the required shift in emphasis towards more community-based services. The 2005 report that considered the future shape of the NHS in Scotland made reference to this. You can download the report here:
Building a Health Service Fit for the Future [569Kb]
The JIT has also worked closely with the Scottish Ambulance Service and a number of local partnerships in ways that seek to create local integrated transport with care services, particularly where these can be used to optimise resources and create efficiencies. We are now at a stage (July 2010) where it is necessary to move this work forward. A number of the ideas expressed above have been articulated in the following paper by Alex Davidson, a JIT Associate. You can read some of the background to this in the following paper:
Reshaping Care for Older People: Transport [90Kb]
We intend to publish a guide shortly which will
– report more fully on developments across Scotland;
– provide some more focussed evidence about what currently works; and
– help partnerships to achieve best practice in transport with care.
We will update this part of the site as that work progresses.