The Public Bodies Joint Working Scotland Act 2014 and the World Health Organisation’s document Strengthening a Component HealthWorkforce for the Provision of Coordinated / Integrated Health Services Langins and Borgermans, 2015, position the integration of health and social care services as the principal means of transforming the delivery of services.
In relation to staff, the Scottish Government’s 2017 National Health and Social Care workforce plan, acknowledge that the planning for the future workforce within NHS Scotland will require a broad range of professionals who will recognise inter-dependence, the importance of ‘whole of workforce’ and that a distributed model of professional leadership will support the provision of more sustainable services. From an international perspective, the World Health Organization’s 2015 Strengthening a Component Workforce for the Provision of Coordinated / Integrated Health Provision Langins and Borgermans, 2015 highlights that,
“all health professionals in all countries to be educated to mobilize knowledge and to engage in critical reasoning and ethical conduct so they are competent to participate in patient and population-centred health systems as members of locally responsive and globally connected teams” Frenk et al 2010.
This highlights that delivering integrated care across the globe requires that the workforce are appropriately educated. At the University of West of Scotland UWS we have responded to this need by developing undergraduate and post graduate programmes in integrating health and social care. These have been developed to address the educational needs of a cross-sectoral health and social care workforce in cultural transformation focusing on educating for enablement and empowerment through co-production and an asset based approach.
The programmes we deliver at UWS are the BA Hons Integrated Health and Social Care programmes, which have been successfully running since 2011 and the recently validated MSc in Leading People-centred Integrated Care at the University of the West of Scotland. These programmes are reflective of 3 stages of education as identified by Frenk et al 2010, informative education, formative education and transformative education. The undergraduate programme is focused on informative education and the post graduate on transformative education, the ethos behind both are to enable and empower the students to deliver, develop and lead integrated services to promote and enhance quality, effective and efficient people-centred services.
A key feature of the programmes are through the multi-professional and multi-sectoral nature of shared co-productive learning to Integrated Care education students can explore the complexities and challenges of delivering and leading system integration. This is advocated as a way of breaking down professional boundaries and in developing a more cohesive approach to professional practice.
The principle of co-production is evident throughout both the ongoing developments in the undergraduate programme and in the development of the Masters programme. Both programme teams have been commended for the co-productive approach taken, which has included Subject specialists in Integrated Care, students and programme staff.
Delivering and developing programmes relating to integration cannot be done in isolation and must up hold the very principles of integration it is aiming to achieve.