Var­ied role is ded­i­cated to pro­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble adults

The Oban Times - - News -

THE OBAN TIMES, to­gether with NHS High­land, is run­ning a se­ries of ar­ti­cles putting the spot­light on peo­ple who work in health­care across our area. An­swer­ing the ques­tions this week is the health board’s lead ad­viser for adult sup­port and pro­tec­tion, Chris­tine Ma­cleod.

Q. What does your job in­volve?

A. It’s quite a var­ied role that cen­tres on adult sup­port and pro­tec­tion (ASP). A big part of my job is the ad­vi­sory role where I am con­tacted by so­cial work­ers, team man­agers and other pro­fes­sion­als in re­la­tion to more com­plex cases sur­round­ing ASP. I am also in­volved in ASP train­ing.

Q. How long have you been in your role and what at­tracted you to the po­si­tion?

A. I’ve worked as lead ad­viser for ASP with NHS High­land since April 2016. I have been a so­cial worker for the best part of 20 years, and I felt I needed a fresh chal­lenge. Prior to this role, I was sec­onded to work with the po­lice set­ting up a new path­way for adult con­cern re­fer­rals, and this in­creased my knowl­edge of ASP work which re­ally in­ter­ested me.

Q. We of­ten hear of child pro­tec­tion, but less of adult pro­tec­tion. What does it in­volve?

A. The Adult Sup­port and Pro­tec­tion (Scot­land) Act 2007 is leg­is­la­tion in­tro­duced by the Scottish Gov­ern­ment to sup­port and pro­tect adults who are more vul­ner­a­ble to the risk of harm.

Q. Which adults are most at risk of harm?

A. Adult sup­port and pro­tec­tion is about the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our com­mu­ni­ties, so that may be peo­ple with men­tal ill-health, learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties or older peo­ple, al­though it’s im­por­tant to stress that just be­cause peo­ple may fall into these cat­e­gories doesn’t mean they are at risk.

They may be very ca­pa­ble of pro­tect­ing them­selves and have sup­port around them.

How­ever, there are many peo­ple who don’t have that sup­port or for var­i­ous rea­sons are not able to safe­guard or pro­tect them­selves.

Q. What type of harm are they at risk from?

A. It can be harm of any form: emo­tional, phys­i­cal, sex­ual, self-ne­glect or fi­nan­cial. Fi­nan­cial harm is an is­sue that has ap­peared quite a lot re­cently, where peo­ple are be­ing tar­geted through var­i­ous scams, whether that be on­line, over the phone or at their doorstep. Fur­ther­more, in some in­stances rel­a­tives and friends can be guilty of this type of harm. How­ever, this can be harder to iden­tify as peo­ple are less likely to speak up about it and alien­ate their fam­i­lies.

Q. Why is adult sup­port and pro­tec­tion such an im­por­tant is­sue?

A. As a so­ci­ety, we all have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, whether they are chil­dren or adults, from all forms of harm and ne­glect.

Q. Which or­gan­i­sa­tions are rep­re­sented on the adult sup­port and pro­tec­tion com­mit­tee?

A. The com­mit­tee is headed by an in- de­pen­dent chair who isn’t as­so­ci­ated to any or­gan­i­sa­tion, and con­sists of se­nior fig­ures from or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Po­lice Scot­land, High­land Coun­cil, NHS High­land and Ad­vo­cacy.

Q. What are the most re­ward­ing el­e­ments of your role?

A. My role al­lows me to make a real dif­fer­ence to peo­ple’s lives, and I like to hear where the leg­is­la­tion has worked and peo­ple are feel­ing safer and liv­ing a more com­fort­able life. How­ever, we need to get the word out to more peo­ple – to let ser­vice users, car­ers, fam­i­lies and pro­fes­sion­als know that help and sup­port is avail­able.

Q. How do you switch off from the pres­sures of your job?

A. I’m mar­ried with three chil­dren, so I don’t have much free time. My three boys al­ways need dropped off at some sports club, but when I’m not driv­ing around I love to run. I am very lucky that I have a won­der­ful fam­ily and I’m able to switch off from my work.

Chris­tine Ma­cleod.

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