House of Care in Lanarkshire


It’s been a couple of years since Tim Warren and I visited NHS Lanarkshire to introduce the principles of Care and Support Planning (C&SP) and House of Care. I was therefore very excited to be travelling back to the second of two Lanarkshire House of Care Launch events, this time in Coatbridge, accompanied by Blythe Robertson, policy lead for self management and health literacy.


It was clear from the start they have a serious ambition to embrace C&SP and the House of Care framework to help transform primary care services across Lanarkshire. Their Primary Care Clinical Director Dr Eamonn Brankin, Medical Director Dr Christopher Mackintosh and Lead Nurse Irene Barkby all spoke unanimously about the need to change (business as usual is not an option) and the benefits of redesigning the system around the identified needs of people and communities. There was warm regard for the CMO’s annual report Realistic Medicine which highlights the need for a values and systems shift to support collaborative working between professionals and people-formally known as patients- to reduce the harms of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Chris Mackintosh highlighted the need for collective leadership, sharing the responsibilities  and taking turns to drive us all forwards (skein of geese analogy)

Dr Eamonn Brankin

Dr Eamonn Brankin welcomes everyone to Coatbridge’s House of Care Launch


Dr Sue Arnott, the newly appointed, yet clearly skilled, Clinical Champion for NHS Lanarkshire’s House of Care programme gave a very articulate summary of the principles of Care and Support Planning. It was pleasing to see her emphasise that this is not “patient” centred care-care done to patients – but care that places productive, collaborative, relational conversations between people AND professionals at the centre. This recognises that the needs and contributions of both parties are equally important for the best outcomes.

Sue Arnott

Dr Sue Arnott and her brick House


I gave a brief summary of national activity to date driven by Year of Care Partnerships  and in Scotland in partnership with Scotland’s House of Care Programme  . I explained the benefits this approach can bring for people, professionals and indeed whole communities. I hoped I conveyed how C&SP is a stepping stone to individual and community empowerment.  It can be a useful vehicle to inform the  commissioning and sustainability of  “more than medicine” –releasing the assets of third, voluntary and communities in supporting and promoting well-being.


We then watched a couple of Year of Care videos illustrating the processes of adopting C&SP in practice and the benefits for people experiencing this approach.


We were then treated to a fantastic and inspiring talk by Jacqui Melville from Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire (VANL) on the difference the Third Sector and Voluntary organisations can make. She illustrated the internationally recognised benefits they have brought through Re-shaping Care for Older People. She also brought our attention to their useful web-based local Locator Tool which helps people connect with community assets. Lanarkshire clearly already has the basis of a great foundation to their Houses of Care.


At the close of the meeting there was a useful panel discussion. The audience were clearly enthusiastic and engaged. Local GPs could see the benefits and already began identifying challenges such as whole team engagement and need to resource and develop health care assistants to facilitate information gathering and sharing as part of the C&SP process.


Blythe and I came away feeling uplifted and proud of the achievements and ambition of NHS Lanarkshire. Special mention to Change and Innovation Manager, Kate Bell, whose recognition of the House of Care approach has been instrumental in NHS Lanarkshire’s “buy in”, kick-started with some important funding from Scottish Government’s Primary Care Division.  Also to Maureen Carroll who is skilfully and energetically managing NHS Lanarkshire’s House of Care Programme.


For further details, particularly about signing up for “Year of Care” training, please email Maureen at


House of Care in Lanarkshire

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