Blog: Housing’s voice in the integration agenda

wheatley_groupAs the integration of health and social care comes into effect in Scotland, a new blog from Wheatley Group and Stirling University details their project to fund a PhD studentship titled ‘Getting housing and health talking’.

April 1st marked a significant milestone in the integration of health and social care as Integration Authorities across Scotland took responsibility for the joint planning of a variety of services and budgets totalling around £8 billion. The integration of health and social care is central to the Scottish Government’s aim to shift resources towards preventative and community based support and is vital if we are to meet the challenges of an ageing population while finances remain tight.

We believe that social housing landlords are in a prime position to add value and recast the relationship between health, wellbeing, social care and housing and so Wheatley Group and the University of Stirling have collaborated to offer a fully funded Masters plus PhD studentship titled ‘Getting housing and health talking: Linking landlord data to support the integration of health and social care’ through the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences (SGSSS)/Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Collaborative scheme.

The links between housing, health and wellbeing have been well documented, most recently in Shelter Scotland’s Commission on Housing and Wellbeing. We know that good quality housing and support services can help people to remain physically and mentally healthy and prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital or residential care. It is therefore essential that the housing sector has a central role in discussions around the integration agenda.

Wheatley Group, like many other landlords, wants to proactively work with our customers to improve their circumstances and help them to thrive in their homes and connect to their communities. We can’t ignore the challenges facing the housing sector as demand for services is increasing - we’re all being expected to do more with less - but the integration of health and social care presents a real opportunity for landlords to think about the way in which services are being provided. Are we really working efficiently and effectively? Are we providing the right types of services? Are we providing the best possible value for our customers?

To address the challenges, we have to work on identifying customers who will benefit most from services and work with them to design products and services which are tailored to meet their needs. We also have to work more closely with health and social care partners to ensure that the services we provide complement each other. We are working to support the same people and our efforts should be united.

If you would like to find out more about the project or are interested in applying for the studentship, information is available on the following page: Getting housing and health talking.

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