Local consultation/planning moves further forward

34 folk engaged in the latest town hall contact in Aberfeldy on 21 June regarding the future health and care services provision in the area from 2015 onwards, reported KATIE ALLSTAFF.
NHSFeldy2aWebThey discussed the vitally important issue of integrating health and social care reviewed the feedback of three short-term working groups, with local representatives on each group, which have been examining
•  the provision of nursing and residential care,
•  the need for improved day care and home care facilities, and
•  the need for a single contact point or person for information.
These groups have met twice over the past weeks and have made a start to examining the various options on the table.
Saturday’s meeting was to feedback on progress to date, to garner further opinions from local people and to encourage further participation in future planning for the local area.

Continuing Process
NHS Feldy1WebThe groups will continue meeting over the next six months and there will be another community consultation in Aberfeldy in January 2015 when they will report their findings and recommendations.
Discussions on Saturday were constructive and informative. Some clear messages emerged:

  • firstly, the status quo in provision is not sustainable;
  • secondly, although much sincere and valuable effort is being expended in many directions, there is a lack of cohesion across and between services; and,
  • thirdly, there is an urgent need for one well-informed contact in the area over a broad range of services and information.

Town resident Merryl Sylvester, who took part, observed: “Considering that it was midsummer Saturday, the conveners of the town hall gathering must have been please to have an attendance of three dozen. This time questions could be asked, and were answered, as far as possible where so many ‘unknown unknowns’ have to factored into the propositions being put forward by NHS and P&K officers.
“The community’s initial inputs on future medical and social care that had emerged from previous meetings were nicely codified and presented but, it seemed to me, that the balancing of need, practicalities and costs had not progressed beyond the ‘if and probably’ stage.
“But clearly many have given a good deal of time and thought so far to the complex of matters involved.
“Yes, there will be double the number of aged persons in 20 years time but, on present showing, this generation is living more robustly than did our parents such that the 70 year olds look as if they were only 50. On the other hand, are we all going to be so obese that we have to be terminally nursed at about 39?”

Informed Decisions Needed
Merryl continued: “Within these inclusive calculations, decisions will have to be taken that balance needs and costs and as yet no one from ‘on high’ seems to have ventured beyond the Best Options list that emerged at the previous meeting from the floor audience.
“These problems are not, of course, restricted to Highland Perthshire; how could they be? Our best suggestions, to date, have been shared with the Powers That Be, but the extent to which these could be activated does not in the least depend upon all of those who are presently engaged on the consultation process.”
She concluded: “Decisions will have to be taken and options and proposals brought back for the public’s further appraisals, as and where these can carry any relevance.”

Commitment To Partnership Work
NHS Tayside said of Saturday’s event at Aberfeldy Town Hall: “This was a successful opportunity to discuss and consider future proposals for health and social care services in Aberfeldy and the surrounding areas.
“Several working groups have now been established to consider future proposals and members of the community were provided with an update on their progress at the feedback event. Members of the public also took part in discussions and were given the opportunity to ask questions on how the process would be taken forward.
“We are committed to work in partnership with the community to help shape future services to meet the current and future needs of the local population.”
Comments from others attending, and those of Ward 4 councillors Mike Williamson and Kate Howie, the P&K Vice Convenor of Housing & Health, were sought but were not forthcoming at the time of going to press.

Draft Timeline
The projected  significant dates are:
Draft option appraisal, with costings - 14 October
Options approaval process - 14 December
Community consultation on option appraisal - 15 January 2015
Approval of preferred option - 15 March 2015



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