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An innovative project which aims to ensure vulnerable people receive the best possible care has been applauded by f...
An innovative project which aims to ensure vulnerable people receive the best possible care has been applauded by finance and public services minister Andy Kerr.

The eCare project which has received £9.7m from the executive allows local authorities, health boards and voluntary agencies throughout Scotland to integrate service delivery.

As a result of the project, older people will benefit from a faster, more streamlined assessment of their needs through the single shared assessment between their NHS board and social services. Children and people with learning disabilities will also benefit from similar measures aimed at making life easier for them and the people who look after them.

Speaking at the eCare conference in Edinburgh yesterday Mr Kerr said:

'Since 2001, the Scottish Executive's Modernising Government Fund has provided almost £10m to take forward the eCare Programme.

'The programme was designed to allow health boards, local authorities and voluntary agencies throughout Scotland to work in partnership with each other and address the need to integrate services in order to provide the best outcomes for staff and patients.

'An excellent example of where this approach is working successfully is the partnership of North and South Lanarkshire Councils with Lanarkshire Health Board. The electronic sharing of information is fully developed and being made available to key workers involved in assessing the needs of those over 65. Work is in progress to extend to all community care groups.

'This approach is now being rolled out to 20 other health and social work partnerships in Scotland over the next 18 months, with pilots for extensions to children's and learning disability services.

'People must always be at the centre of service delivery. By working together and, just as importantly, learning from each other, we will be able to achieve this goal. By doing so we will deliver the best and most appropriate services to our most vulnerable g roups.

'The fact is that better care gives better quality of life. Quality day-to-day service is critical to people in need. To achieve this we need to take a joined-up view of the services people use and that is exactly what eCare delivers.

'But in order for things to really work we need to make a further push towards changes in ways of working. We must ensure that joint working brings positive benefits to those using our services.'

The Modernising Government Fund eCare Programme works in partnership with health boards, local authorities and voluntary agencies throughout Scotland, in addressing the need for integration of services and user centred care, through electronic data sharing, consistent data standards, and investment in information (communications) technology.

It was agreed by the 21st Century Government Unit that £5.6m of the total £9.7m committed to MGF2 eCare would be directly allocated to a Single Shared Assessment (SSA) Project stream within the Programme.

The overall purpose of theSSA Project is to deliver information sharing for the elderly between partner agencies in health, social care and social housing. This covers factors such as:

- Local governance structures are in place

- Ensuring agreed information sharing protocols are in place

- Ensuring information sharing forms and leaflets are in place

- Agreeing tools and processes for assessment and care management

- Assisting partner agencies to identify the computer application they will use in conjunction with the eCare application

- Assisting in the provision of training material for all assessors

- Communicating and consulting with all key stakeholders

- Tying together technical, organisational development and data standards strands from eCare to ensure local requirements are considered and met within the SSA Project

- Making sure that all activity is in line with other policy initiatives, including Supporting People, Direct Payments, Self Assessment, and The same as you?

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