Home is where healthcare is

The Integration Joint Board
The Integration Joint Board

The national aspiration to allow people to live longer, healthier lives at home is about to become a reality in the Falkirk area.

Acting on the Scottish Government 2020 Vision, Falkirk Council and NHS Forth Valley have formed a partnership and a Joint Integration Board to help draft a strategic plan on the future delivery of health and social care services.

The draft plan, which went out to public consultation on Monday, highlights the reasons for an approach which aims to cut down on the number of avoidable hospital visits by local residents.

Board chairperson Councillor Allyson Black said: “A lot of people are living longer with quite complex conditions so you have to develop an anticipatory care plan – a plan which is already in place rather than just reacting to something when it happens.

“It’s about streamlining things and making sure people do not have to go to two or three different sources to get the healthcare they need. It gives people more power over their own care and carers will see changes too as we look to provide them with more back up.”

Tracey McKigen, interim chief officer for Falkirk’s health and social care partnership, believes the new approach will improve the quality of care provided, as well as make hospital visits a less common occurrence.

She said: “People we have asked say the biggest change they want to see is a single point of access where their services are built around them. They want healthcare professionals to share information effectively so they don’t have to tell the same story two or three times to different people.

“We want them to know they can stay at home. There are some older people who just don’t want to go into hospital, particularly those coming towards the end of their life.

“We want them to feel safe and supported at home and if people do have to go into hospital then it is important to provide support which helps them get back home again as soon as possible.

“These changes will provide care where it is needed and allow people to remain in their homes for as long as possible, giving them support to lead a more independent life.

“The plan is still to be completed because we want people to put their own input into it. It was a fine balance of having enough information in the draft plan for people to look at, but leave enough out so people could put in their own ideas and views.”

Councillor Black added: “We have been doing a lot of consultation with people already and there has been a lot of good work done in the last two years – it’s not just this six week consultation up until the end of December.

“We need people to tell us what they need.”

The consultation, which closes on December 29, asks local residents, community groups and voluntary organisations what is important to them about health and social care services.

A final version of the plan will be published by April 2016 and will be the template the Joint Integration Board follow over the next three years to deliver local care.

Visit www.falkirk.gov.uk/integration or call (01324) 504021 for more.