Health and social care reform in Scotland – what next?

Anne Hendry*, Maimie Thompson, Peter Knight, Eleanor McCallum, Alison Taylor, Helen Rainey, Andrew Strong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: This paper analyses the important enablers, barriers and impacts of country-wide implementation of integrated health and social care in Scotland. It offers insights for other systems seeking to advance similar policy and practice.

Description: Landmark legislation was based on a shared vision and narrative about improving outcomes for people and communities. Implementation has involved coordination of multiple policies and interventions for different life stages, care groups, care settings and local context within a dynamic and complex system.

Discussion: Relational and citizen led approaches are critical for success, but it takes time to build trusting relationships, influence organisational and professional cultures and cede power. Assessing national impacts is challenging and progress at a national level can seem slower than local experience suggests, due in part to the relative immaturity of national datasets for community interventions. Five years on there are many examples of innovation and positive outcomes despite increasing demographic, workforce, and financial challenges. However, inequalities continue to increase.

Conclusion: Realising the true value from integration will require a stronger focus on place-based prevention and early intervention to achieve a fairer Scotland where everybody thrives. Solidarity, equity, and human rights must guide the next phase of Scotland’s story.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Integrated Care
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2021


  • evaluation
  • integrated care
  • policy
  • reform
  • transformation


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