Next stage of review of Cumbrae clinical services

by Rebecca Garrett

A review of clinical services on Cumbrae is to enter a new phase.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran, the Cumbrae Public Reference Group, partners from North Ayrshire Council, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the island’s GP practice are set to consider options for future out-of-hours clinical care on the island.

The review has been underway since November 2011 and has covered daytime and out-of-hours care, community and home-based care, hospital inpatient and emergency services, day and outpatient care.

The aim is to identify contemporary, safe, sustainable and affordable health care arrangements for the island’s population and visitors.

Assistant Medical Director Dr Ken Ferguson, who chairs the Cumbrae Public Reference Group, said: “Reaching a solution for providing 24-hour clinical cover is a top priority for us, to ensure that we can maintain safe levels of care when the existing GPs retire at the end of March 2013.

“The Cumbrae GP Practice will be advertised by the Health Board at the end of October as soon as the preferred out-of-hours model has been agreed.

“I am very grateful to all the members of the Public Reference Group, and to our partners in the council and the ambulance service, who have been on this journey with us. Reaching this point is a milestone.

“We share a common goal, of arriving at a safe and affordable model of care which can be delivered within the available funding.”

With the help of the Public Reference Group the review has addressed key issues about the island’s population and current services, asking:

  • Are facilities and services in the right place?
  • Is the existing model the right one?
  • Are we making most of all opportunities to use new technologies to support local care?
  • Could services work more closely together?
  • How can we meet changing needs with limited funding?
  • How can we support people who want to stay on the island?

At a meeting in August 2012, all the groups who had been involved so far supported the potential long-term model of integrated health and social care which has emerged from the review. This would see:

  • Integrated out-of-hours health, social care and ambulance services
  • Strong links during the day between all the agencies involved (health, social work, ambulance and voluntary sector) to the local GP practice.
  • More services provided in Millport town itself, possibly including a Minor Injuries Service at the GP practice (transferred from Lady Margaret Hospital).
  • The exploration of care options as an alternative to the current hospital provision. This could be associated with new housing provision, arising from the review of housing options currently being undertaken by North Ayrshire Council.

With these findings in mind, the groups will now meet to look in detail at options for providing out-of-hours care for the island.

This process is called option appraisal and involves participants scoring each option against a range of criteria, which are determined by the group, to arrive at a preferred option.

The Public Reference Group minutes are available online here. You can also send in comments and suggestions to Jean Kerr, chairwoman of the Public Reference Group at Northfield_Millport@yahoo.co.uk or to the North Ayrshire PPF Public Participation Co-ordinator Carole Thomson at carole.thomson@aapct.scot.nhs.uk or 01294 322039.


Tom McAulay says

Rebecca, thanks very much for this update. It demonstrates just how easy it would have been for the PRG to keep people up to date from the beginning of this process. By doing so they would have afforded the wider community the opportunity to comment and perhaps influence the review at a much earlier stage.

Anyway, as they say we are where we are. The last minutes available from the link you provided are dated June but I believe there have been further meetings since. Will those minutes be published soon?

 

Tom McAulay says

Whilst the most recent minutes on the site (August) are very interesting the key facts are not immediately obvious to the casual reader. What seems to be emerging is that:

  • Lady Margaret Hospital has no future with its services being delivered elsewhere in the town
  • There is no commitment to the GP surgery remaining in the Garrison 
  • Out of Hours cover will be provided by services other than GPs

Publishing minutes is useful but the content can often be jargon riddled and real decisions and actions obscured by a lack of understanding of context and process. A plain english approach to summarising the key elements is always welcome.

Tom McAulay says

The last minutes of the joint Steering/ PRG meeting available remain those for August. As far as I am aware there have been at least 2 further meetings of the joint group. Can the public be given the latest information?

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