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New act, new opportunity for integration in Scotland

Alison Taylor (Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates, Edinburgh, UK)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 16 February 2015




In this paper, the Scottish Government's approach to improving outcomes for patients and service users by integrating health and social care planning and provision is described. The Scottish Parliament passed primary legislation in February 2014, which places requirements on Health Boards and Local Authorities to work together more closely than ever before. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


This paper sets out the Scottish Government's legislative approach to integrating health and social care, based on previous experience of encouraging better partnership between health and social care working without legislative compulsion.


The Scottish Government has concluded that legislation is required to create the integrated environment necessary for health and social care provision to meet the changing needs of Scotland's ageing population.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is confined to experience in Scotland.

Practical implications

Legislation is now complete, and implementation of the new arrangements is starting. Evaluation of their impact will be ongoing.

Social implications

The new integrated arrangements in Scotland are intended to achieve a significant shift in the balance of care in favour of community-based support rather than institutional care in hospitals and care homes. Its social implications will be to support greater wellbeing, particularly for people with multimorbidities within communities.


Scotland is taking a unique approach to integrating health and social care, focusing on legislative duties on Health Boards and Local Authorities to work together, rather than focusing on structural change alone. The scale of planned integration is also significant, with planning for, at least, all of adult social care and primary health care, and a proportion of acute hospital care, included in the new integrated arrangements.



Taylor, A. (2015), "New act, new opportunity for integration in Scotland", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 3-9.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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