Home is where NHS Forth Valley’s heart is

Forth Valley Royal Hospital
Forth Valley Royal Hospital

NHS Forth Valley is far from perfect and bosses admitted as much at the organisation’s annual report presentation last week.

Those present in the Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s lecture theatre were told about the current state of play for their local NHS and of plans for the future.

Forth Valley NHS chairman Alex Linkston said: “We are not a perfect service but we have a lot of staff who are going that extra mile for patients. We want to work with the public and staff to make sure our health service is the best in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government’s 2020 vision aims to have people across the country leading longer and healthier lives at home or in a homely setting, with the majority of healthcare delivered in the community instead of hospitals.

In order to help staff deliver this vision, and on the Scottish Government’s Health Improvement, Efficiency, Access to Treatment and Treatment, or HEAT, targets, NHS Forth Valley will be carrying out a clinical services review.

NHS Forth Valley chief executive Jane Grant said: “The needs and wishes of patients should always lie at the heart of our planning processes, which is why, throughout this review, we want to hear the views of local patients, carers and voluntary organisations across Forth Valley on the issues which matter most to them.”

The review will help identify what the organisation needs to do to meet the needs of a rapidly ageing population and deliver more care at home or in local communities so patients can retain their independence, surrounded by family and friends.

NHS Forth Valley needs to find answers to three vital questions: 1) What is important to the public when they use the service? 2) What could staff and management do to improve the service? 3) Is there anything which could be changed?

During the presentation a member of the public stated he noticed on the NHS Forth Valley website there were 35 job vacancies in various departments still to be filled and he wondered if complacency was creeping into the local health service.

Mr Linkston said: “We are not complacent. At times we have vacancies and we ensure they are advertised quickly. We look at a 12-week turnaround.”

The chief executive added: “There will never be a time when we don’t have vacancies - 35 vacancies are actually not a huge number for us.”

The main message of the afternoon, and of the report itself, was the need to move away from a care model that puts the hospital at its centre.

Kathy O’Neill, community health partnership general manager, said: “It’s important we get people home as quickly as possible, as recovery is best done at home and not in a hospital environment.

“The shift away from hospital means we have to support people to stay at home where possible. We have to change what we do and how we do it to make sure we meet all the demands.”

Under the new approach, if people do require to go to hospital then the majority should be treated and discharged on the same day, receiving follow up care at home or in the community.