Health pro­vi­sion in Argyll faces key chal­lenges, says lo­cal­ity man­ager

The Oban Times - - News -

The Oban Times has asked Argyll and Bute Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship (pre­vi­ously the health board) to de­liver a se­ries of ar­ti­cles putting the spot­light on work­ers within the ser­vice and the is­sues that af­fect work­ing in health­care. An­swer­ing the ques­tions this week is

An­nie Macleod, lo­cal­ity man­ager for Oban, Lorn and the Isles. Tell us more about your job.

I’ve been lo­cal­ity man­ager at Oban, Lorn and the Isles for the past 14 months. It’s been an in­ter­est­ing time for me as I came into the role just as leg­is­la­tion has passed for the in­te­gra­tion of health and so­cial care. Prior to that, I have had se­nior man­age­ment roles in health, so­cial care and char­i­ties. My last role was di­rec­tor of care for the Joseph Rown­tree Foun­da­tion and Hous­ing Trust, an anti-poverty char­ity in York­shire.

My ex­pe­ri­ence has taught me the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing a nur­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment within the work­force. De­vel­op­ing in­di­vid­ual skills, fos­ter­ing team­work and lis­ten­ing to staff are crit­i­cal. I be­lieve front-line staff have the knowl­edge and many of so­lu­tions we need.

Since join­ing Argyll and Bute Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship as lo­cal­ity man­ager, the man­age­ment team has a very vis­i­ble pres­ence, both within the hos­pi­tal and the com­mu­nity. The lo­cal man­age­ment team meets ev­ery Mon­day and looks at day-to- day op­er­a­tional is­sues as well as qual­ity and safety.

How has the in­te­gra­tion of health and so­cial care gone so far?

The staff have been great and have risen to the chal­lenge, both on the so­cial care and health side. This com­bi­na­tion of knowl­edge and skills gives us a well-rounded view of in­di­vid­ual peo­ple re­quir­ing sup­port. This helps when it comes to dis­cus­sions about what we have to do to im­prove our ser­vices. Our sys­tem is still evolv­ing and our staff are work­ing ex­tremely hard and show­ing a real com­mit­ment to help in­te­grate the ser­vices.

What are the key is­sues?

We have iden­ti­fied sev­eral so far. The main chal­lenge is that we know we need to change, to be­come more ef­fi­cient in the way we de­liver ser­vices, es­pe­cially as there are re­cruit­ment and fi­nan­cial chal­lenges.

I don’t think any­one can have es­caped the me­dia cov­er­age of the health and so­cial care cri­sis we are in na­tion­ally, and that is mir­rored in our lo­cal­ity.

Change is of­ten dif­fi­cult, es­pe­cially if it means chang­ing tra­di­tional ways of work­ing.

An­other key chal­lenge is com­mu­ni­cat­ing what we are do­ing and help­ing peo­ple to un­der­stand we are do­ing the best we can within the con­text and dif­fi­cul­ties we face.

A sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge is the re­cruit­ment of staff across the board, from doc­tors, nurses, mid­wives, phys­ios and al­lied health pro­fes­sion­als and so­cial care pro­fes­sion­als such as so­cial work­ers and home car­ers.

Our fo­cus is al­ways on how best we can pro­vide safe and sus­tain­able health and so­cial care pro­vi­sion across Argyll and Bute.

Work­ing in part­ner­ship is crit- ical and there are con­sid­er­able ben­e­fits we are en­joy­ing from a full com­mit­ment from in­de­pen­dent and third sec­tor part­ners in our lo­cal­ity plan.

Tell us more about the lo­cal­ity plan.

We have got a good plan but it is true that the model of ser­vice pro­vi­sion and the way we ap­proach it will be different in fu­ture.

There are al­ready good ex­am­ples of this ap­proach.

For in­stance, we have de­vel­oped new com­bined health and so­cial roles for peo­ple who work within the com­mu­nity.

We hope th­ese new roles will prove at­trac­tive and of­fer ca­reer pro­gres­sion, so more peo­ple will ap­ply for th­ese jobs with us.

We are also look­ing to progress a new health care model of us­ing multi- dis­ci­plinary teams of staff in neigh­bour­hoods in the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Our aim is to make more ef­fi­cient use of both avail­able re­sources and fund­ing.

We are also tak­ing a more ‘ preven­tion rather than cure’ ap­proach. The Lorn healthy op­tions scheme in Taynuilt is a good ex­am­ple.

It’s a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive which en­cour­ages peo­ple to get health­ier and fit­ter through par­tic­i­pa­tion in a flex­i­ble pro­gramme of ac­tiv­ity de­signed to meet in­di­vid­ual needs and aspire to be a healthy vil­lage.

The Lorn Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Oban has re­cently helped with the train­ing of ad­vanced nurs­ing and as­sess­ment skills in the nurs­ing teams.

Among other ini­tia­tives, I am de­lighted the Lorn and Is­lands Hos­pi­tal in Oban will have sta­tus as a carer-friendly hos­pi­tal in the next few weeks.

This ini­tia­tive will help us to iden­tify car­ers and pro­vide fur­ther sup­port to fam­i­lies and friends af­ter rel­a­tives are dis­charged from hos­pi­tal. We have also in­vested in carer sup­port for our is­lands. You men­tioned that one of the chal­lenges is com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the pub­lic.

That’s what be­hind the idea of this col­umn. We hope to do this on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to share in­for­ma­tion about the ser­vices we al­ready have but also about those we are de­vel­op­ing.

De­spite our re­cruit­ment and fi­nan­cial con­straints we are try­ing to en­sure the de­vel­op­ment of safe and sus­tain­able ser­vices that meet the pop­u­la­tion’s de­mands.

There is much I am re­ally proud of what we do lo­cally here in Oban, Lorn and the Isles. I know we will have to con­tinue to make dif­fi­cult choices about our ser­vices. I am hop­ing our col­umn will be in­for­ma­tive and pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to high­light what we are do­ing well, what is avail­able to lo­cal peo­ple and out­line the dif­fi­cult choices we face to en­sure safety and qual­ity of ser­vices. Tell us more about your­self, An­nie. What helps you to re­lax?

I live in Morvern and I have what I think is the best com­mute to work in the world. Morvern is a won­der­ful place and I love the sea, sail­ing and kayak­ing. You can see me some­times swim­ming in the Sound of Mull.

I’m mar­ried with two chil­dren, both of whom are grad­u­at­ing in the same week this sum­mer. What drives you?

I trained as a nurse in Ed­in­burgh and did my mid­wifery in Glasgow. And I think that train­ing and its val­ues, es­pe­cially the value of pro­vid­ing the very best of care, has never left me.

An­nie MacLeod is full of praise for the team at the Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship for Argyll and Bute.

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