The Chair of the Social Care and Adult Services Scrutiny Panel outlined the Panel's findings, conclusions and recommendations following a scrutiny investigation into the Integrated Occupational Therapy Service.
The Board considered the following recommendations of the Panel based on the evidence submitted:-
(i) That the Department of Social Care critically evaluates the IOTS and its membership of the partnership, in light of expectations it would have of such a partnership for the next five to ten years. Specific attention should be paid to the delivery of high quality and efficient services to clients, value for money and the sustainability of the service.
(ii) If, after that exercise, the Departments clearly articulated and numerous concerns cannot be dealt with through work to the existing partnership, the Department should withdraw from the partnership. It should then seek to establish a new methodology of integrated working with key partners, that utilises specialist skills more appropriately, improves the service on offer, provides better value for money, reduces waiting times and is able to respond quicker to respond to changing demands and pressures.
(iii) Whether the outcome of the above work is to develop and change the IOTS, or look to a new model of working, the Panel would like to see patient/client outcome measures taking a more important role in the assessment of the functions work, alongside activity measures. In addition, the Panel would like to see a clear mechanism for the controlling of costs introduced. It has seen no evidence of this so far.
(iv) The Panel would seek updates on the above work at appropriate junctures.
(v) The Local Authority should also be mindful of ensuring that a move towards less people being admitted to hospital, or at least spending less time in hospital, is accompanied by the reassignment of resources within the system, towards community based services. If the local health and social care economy fails to ensure that this happens, the Department of Social Care will be placed, over time, in an impossible position of increasing demand (in numbers and complexity), with a relatively ever dwindling financial allocation. It is recommended that the full weight of the local authority supports the Department of Social Care to ensure that this does not happen.
(vi) The local authority should also be vigilant to ensure that financial resources allocated to support community services in Teesside are not used to improve community services in North Yorkshire, via the shared service arrangement of the two areas.
(vii) That the process for Middlesbrough residents requiring Occupational Therapy, being repatriated to Middlesbrough from out of area hospitals, is examined to ensure that they are not placed at a disadvantage and that the necessary communication can take place between the out of area hospital and Occupational Therapy. This is particularly true for patients referred to clinical specialities in Newcastle.
ORDERED that the findings and recommendations of the Social Care and Adult Services Scrutiny Panel be endorsed and referred to the Executive.