Rhetoric and reality lead separate lives when it comes to integrating health and social services in Scotland, and it is making planning and implementation difficult for practitioners of integration. This paper is a collaboration between a practitioner and two academics who teach, research and write about integration. It explores the views of other integration practitioners about the policy, language and nature of integration, and the issues practitioners are currently grappling with, especially how the policy language of ‘integration’ fails to connect with integration in practice. It appears that ‘integration’ has less to do with broad policy aspirations and principles of service (re)organisation, than with the specific aims, objectives and outcomes of individual projects delivered in very specific circumstances. Acknowledging the localisation of integration, and allowing the time for productive problem solving which can generate a new language, ought to be essential elements of integration.
- Integration, Language, Service Improvement, Communities of Practice, Learning Theory