Proposals to save healthcare will see total service revamp
Rural community hubs being considered in radical plans to overhaul NHS
RADICAL plans by the Scottish Government could see healthcare on the West Coast and islands completely transformed over the next 15 years, says health minister Shona Robison.
But critics from Argyll say it will still mean patients have little access to lifesaving medics when they are needed most, not least because of lack of staff and poor broadband services.
Plans are being considered for rural healthcare hubs, which would see rural health care hubs based around GP surgeries.
While a team of experts would be involved in the care of patients, they may not attend
in person but virtually, down a secure internet connection.
Multi- disciplinary teams would be based in local community hubs, with regional or national centres of expertise for some acute services.
This Ms Robison argues would address concerns such as poor patterns of health and health inequalities, a rapidly ageing population, high levels of preventable diseases and tight finances.
In answer to sustained questioning by medical professionals and healthcare advocates, Ms Robison told a packed hall at Atlantis Leisure Centre earlier in the autumn that primary care services were stretched and ‘ communities rightly have higher expectations’.
She continued: ‘ So I want to transform our approach to ensure that people see the right professionals more quickly.’
Ms Robison wants to ‘support communities to innovate so that services are available where people need them’, adding that rural hospitals in places such as Oban and Mull were likely to continue to have recruitment concerns.
At present there are vacancies filled by locums in more than 10 locations. Fees for specialist consultants are upwards of £100 per hour, with nurses from Ireland making up staffing shortfalls on some wards.
Speaking after the recent cabinet meeting in Oban, Ms Robison said: ‘The NHS of the future must be very different from the past. Maintaining the status quo in health and social care is not an option. And we need to start discussing and planning for change now.
‘I want to seek consensus on how to make more progress in improving the health of the population, and on how our NHS and social care systems should change by 2030 to continue supporting everyone to live well.
‘I’m seeking views on new models of care, including those which might be delivered by multi- disciplinary teams in local community hubs, with regional or national centres of expertise for some acute services, focused on high- quality care and improved health outcomes.
‘We must maximise the contribution of all healthcare professions – not just doctors and nurses, but allied health professionals, pharmacists, healthcare scientists, social workers and healthcare support workers too – working to the top of their professional capability.’
I want to transform our approach.