NHS bid to re­duce load on doc­tors

Link work­ers for surg­eries

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - NEWS -

An am­bi­tious mul­ti­mil­lion pound scheme to take bur­dens off stretched NHS Grampian doc­tors is to be put in place in Aberdeen.

A pub­lic con­tract from the Aberdeen City Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship (ACHSCP) has ap­peared, advertising for char­i­ties or third sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions to bid for a £2.8mil­lion con­tract to pro­vide 30 “link work­ers” for the city’s surg­eries. The staff would be used to re­duce pres­sure on clin­i­cal staff by pro­vid­ing ad­vice and point­ing to other ser­vices that could help deal with prob­lems with­out med­i­cal treat­ment.

The part­ner­ship is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the coun­cil, NHS and other partners which aims to share re­sources in the face of shrink­ing bud­gets from cen­tral govern­ment.

It is hoped that each of Aberdeen’s clin­ics will have a link worker at­tached. The north-east has his­tor­i­cally strug­gled to re­cruit pub­lic sec­tor staff, in­clud­ing GPs, due to Aberdeen’s northerly location and high cost of liv­ing among other fac­tors.

ACHSCP lead trans­for­ma­tion man­ager Gail Wood­cock said that doc­tors had re­ported that stress was a ma­jor fac­tor in putting peo­ple off the pro­fes­sion and pointed to tri­als con­ducted in Glas­gow.

She said: “Just now there is a sit­u­a­tion where if some­one has a headache or can’t sleep they go to their GP who has maybe 10 minutes to iden­tify the prob­lem and maybe sends them away with sleep­ing tablets.

“The point of the scheme is that link work­ers will have more time to in­ves­ti­gate any un­der­ly­ing prob­lems and see what other so­lu­tions there are us­ing their own spe­cial­i­ties. This has been done down in Glas­gow and stud­ies con­cluded which show that GPs them­selves say that the work­ers im­prove their work­ing lives and make them more likely to en­joy work and stay in prac­tice.”

A spokesman for the ACHSCP said: “Link work­ers are a key change within the IJB’s trans­for­ma­tion pro­gramme, con­tribut­ing to the delivery of the IJB’s strate­gic plan.

“Link work­ers will pro­vide per­son-cen­tred well­be­ing sup­port to pa­tients, help­ing to im­prove peo­ple’s re­silience by work­ing with them to iden­tify and ad­dress is­sues that neg­a­tively im­pact on health, in­clud­ing en­cour­ag­ing greater links with com­mu­ni­ties and lo­cal sup­ports. Link work­ers have been oper­at­ing in some GP prac­tices in Glas­gow with a range of pos­i­tive ben­e­fits in­clud­ing im­prove­ments in per­sonal well­be­ing, with a study find­ing that 60% of peo­ple sup­ported re­ported im­prove­ments in their well­be­ing.” Char­i­ties and sports groups can learn how to se­cure fund­ing at a unique event on Fri­day.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions can find out how to ap­ply for grants from ma­jor fund­ing bodies at the even­tat North­field Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, Aberdeen at 10am. A photo ex­hi­bi­tion which ex­plores marine pol­lu­tion will start mak­ing waves tonight.

Mother Ocean, by Aberdeen artist Bibo Kee­ley, will be on show at the Sev­en­teen gallery in Bel­mont Street.

It launches from 6pm this evening and runs un­til Oc­to­ber 7. A de­men­tia-friendly disco has won a top na­tional award.

Boo­gie at the Bar, at the Foundry, Aberdeen, won Best Com­mu­nity Sup­port Ini­tia­tive cat­e­gory at Scot­land’s De­men­tia Awards 2017.

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