This week, provincial councils, municipal entities and the Barcelona City Council signed a protocol with the Departments of Health and Social Rights to promote the future Integrated Social and Health Care Agency.
The agreement stresses the need to integrate the social and health systems, which currently constitute two separate systems,in order to provide the best possible care for the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill and, in general, all those with complex needs. Furthermore, it underlines the fact that this social and health integration requires participation and cooperation at a local level.
“Integrated care means that we coordinate resources around people’s needs”, explained the Catalan Minister of Health, Manel Balcells, which means that this integrated social and health care must be carried out “through a single management system, using information models that communicate with each other, thus allowing the most urgent cases to be prioritised”, he added. He also reiterated that the development of these communication systems, although highly complex, is on the verge of becoming a reality.
Minister Balcells went on to explain that, “By signing this protocol, the various administrations have undertaken to work towards this goal” and that, “After many years in the works, this will finally culminate in the creation of an instrument that we call an agency for integrated social and health care”.
People, especially the most vulnerable, will be the direct beneficiaries of this comprehensive and integrated care, which will be undertaken by all the institutions in Catalonia that have signed this new commitment to offer them a harmonised and more humane response.
“Integrated care should be seen as a strategic investment, both for the present and, above all, for the future”, remarked the Catalan Minister of Social Rights. “It is an opportunity to rethink and transform the system and adopt a new paradigm of care: the personalisation of care, focusing on the needs of the person and those of their care giving environment. This is, in essence, one of the most transformative commitments in recent years taken on by the social services and healthcare system”.
Since the approval by the Government in February of the preliminary report on the draft bill of the Integrated Social and Health Care Agency, more than 70 meetings have been held with organisations, bodies and professionals, as well as some fifteen meetings with international experts. More than 150 professionals are already working on the project, including the coordinators, territorial managers, the advisory council and various working groups.
Furthermore, four priority lines have been established: integrated care in homes for the elderly and people with disabilities, integrated care in the home environment, integrated care in mental health and addictions, and integrated information systems. A preliminary public consultation has also been called regarding the preliminary draft bill of the Integrated Social and Health Care Agency.
Source and further information: Department of Health
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