Spent an interesting, challenging and fun afternoon at the RCN Scotland Conference on Integration at Heriot Watt earlier this week. More info at their website on this link. A two day conference just on this issue clearly demonstrates how seriously nurses are examining the Integration agenda and its implications.
My role, along with 9 other far more significant speakers, was to host a table during a World Cafe discussion, a sort of rolling debate where table hosts keep the discussion pot boiling while participants flit from table to table depending on where their interest or ideas take them. A 2 minute intro from the rostrum was followed by a 2 hour discussion session, concluded with our own personal observations at the end. It was demanding but fun and interesting.
I'm beginning to appreciate that despite the Council and NHS both being major Public sector service providers their cultures are markedly different. There was some scepticism about what Integration may achieve and even some cynicism about the motives of politicians who are advocating this approach (surely not, I hear you cry !). One of the most serious issues raised was the fear by nurses that Integration will lead to a de-skilling of the nursing profession or downgrading of the nursing role where less qualifed care workers carry out tasks that should really be done by nurses. I don't think this will happen but it's a legitmate concern and one that will have to be borne in mind as the process develops. The day was wrapped up with a speech from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and a brief drinks reception before heading off for a no.34 bus home.