View Full Version : West Caithness heath services

23-Feb-12, 13:02
Fresh approach being taken by NHS Highland

NHS Highland is taking a fresh approach to redesigning health services in West Caithness.
The North Highland Community Health Partnership (CHP) Committee endorsed this move and provided guidance to the management team on the next steps in the redesign process at its meeting in Wick this week.
North Highland CHP Chair, Colin Punler, said the committee accepted the case for change, in line with its remit to "shift the balance of care" from hospitals to community settings.
He said the committee had not been persuaded the service redesign proposals put forward by management would lead to better outcomes for patients, because clinicians locally were divided, and it had taken into account the scale of public anxiety evident at its previous meetings.
Mr Punler said: “NHS management locally is signalling its intention to adopt a new approach to service redesign and the committee welcomes this. The current proposals have now been taken off the table. Committee members emphasised the importance of an inclusive and open approach to the future development of options, leading to a greater sense of ownership among clinicians about the preferred service model and consensus around the outcomes for patients. Members want to see evidence of this in a project plan that sets out the process for the development of options, the scoring and weighting of options and the consultation process."
Members also agreed that work on clinical engagement could start immediately and that a communications and engagement group should be set up to oversee work on the project plan. The group will have a responsibility for agreeing methods of engagement and signing off processes for engaging with local people and with the healthcare professionals involved.
The project plan is to include a clear timescale for the redesign process, which is now expected to take up to a year.
Progress with this work, which will be carried out with the support of the Scottish Health Council, is to be brought back to the next meeting of the committee on April 17.
CHP General Manager, Sheena Macleod, told the committee that the key reasons for needing to change had not gone away and the options that were proposed were in line with NHS Highland and national policy. Yet, despite further engagement with public, staff and politicians, there continued to be a lack of consensus for some elements of the redesign proposal.
She said: “The vision for the Dunbar site continues to be poorly understood and is one of the reasons cited as leading to a lack of confidence. This partly relates to the fact that the redesign process has been going on for a long time and that the situation has changed during that period.”
Mrs Macleod added that the CHP now believed it was in everyone’s interest to go back a few steps to address the areas where there was a current lack of confidence.
And NHS Highland Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Maimie Thompson, said: “Given the huge amount of work that has been done to date, the decision to go back a few steps was not taken lightly but sometimes you have to go back a bit before you can more forward.
In order to develop a new approach that is fair and transparent, we will be expecting community leaders and others to help us agree and implement an acceptable process. We need to work through the process as thoroughly but quickly as possible.”
North Highland CHP managers will be meeting with local GPs this (Thursday February 23) evening to discuss the way forward.