Residents act to ad­dress ‘cri­sis’ in Mull so­cial care

The Oban Times - - NEWS - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

RESIDENTS on the Isle of Mull are tak­ing pos­i­tive ac­tion to look af­ter each other af­ter a ‘cri­sis’ in health­care saw a num­ber of is­landers stranded when they needed help to ac­cess ser­vices.

Mull Safe and Sound has been set up to pro­vide help as well as a safe and nur­tur­ing place for peo­ple who feel so­cially iso­lated.

The group came to­gether af­ter real­is­ing there were a num­ber of places on the is­land where peo­ple were fall­ing through gaps in the ser­vices cur­rently pro­vided. A small team, con­tactable through Cathy Pa­ton and Jill Kirkham and a Face­book page, has been set up to keep peo­ple in­formed about the group’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

Coun­cil­lor Mary-Jean Devon, vol­un­teer Wilma De Ath and for­mer Tober­mory health cen­tre nurs­ing man­ager Chris Swin­banks met with The Oban

Times to ex­plain how the vol­un­tary scheme is go­ing to work.

Mrs Devon said: ‘ This is pay­back time for the com­mu­nity. Safe and Sound Mull will try to ad­dress all those is­sues that at the mo­ment are keep­ing peo­ple from get­ting out – or con­tribut­ing to them feel­ing iso­lated in their own homes.’ Ms De Ath added: ‘We have all heard hor­ror sto­ries where the cost of us­ing the am­bu­lance to get peo­ple back and for­ward to the hospi­tal for ap­point­ments can be up­wards of £200.

‘There is not any­one on the is­land who can af­ford that high level of cost. We want to make sure that we are pro­vid­ing trans­port for peo­ple who need it.’

The group has also in­volved com­mu­nity phar­ma­cist Julie Walker to sup­port its work. Or­gan­is­ers say this move re­in­forces the group’s rai­son d’etre – that peo­ple on Mull are be­ing well looked af­ter.

The team is hop­ing to re­cruit more vol­un­teers to meet the al­ready high de­mand for its ser­vice.

The group also meets fort­nightly on a Thurs­day be­tween 2pm and 4pm in the com­mu­nity build­ing at An Roth, Craignure.

For fur­ther de­tails, email mull­safe­and­sound@out­ or tele­phone Jill Kirkham on 07837 184068 or Cathy Pa­ton on 01680 300001 or 07553 885442.

Ar­gyll and Bute MSP Michael Rus­sell has praised the news about Oban hospi­tal be­ing able to of­fer ul­tra­sound scans for preg­nant moth­ers in 2017.

Ex­pec­tant mums cur­rently have to travel to Glas­gow in or­der to re­ceive a scan, but a spokesman for Ar­gyll and Bute Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship said that he ex­pects the ser­vice to be avail­able in Oban next spring.

Mr Rus­sell said: ‘I think it’s great.

‘One of the con­stant com­plaints has been that ex­pec­tant moth­ers, from Mull and the is­lands par­tic­u­larly, have to go all the way to Glas­gow and that can be a two- or three- day trip.

‘That’s the type of thing I want to see hap­pen­ing and that I have been cam­paign­ing for over a long time. Where it is pos­si­ble to have ser­vices at Oban, they should be there.’

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