Dumfries & Galloway Health & Social Care

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IJB committee considers report on Wigtownshire maternity services

A REPORT on the future of maternity services in Wigtownshire was considered on Thursday by a sub-committee of the region’s Integration Joint Board.

Head of Midwifery Laura Boyce said: “I’m very pleased that the report has been presented to this sub-committee of the IJB setting out options for the future of maternity services in Wigtownshire.

“I’d like to express my sincere thanks to the two independent chairs, NHS Ayrshire and Arran Medical Director Crawford McGuffie and NHS Ayrshire and Arran Executive Nurse Director Jennifer Wilson, and for the support provided by professional midwifery expert Angela Cunningham.”

The local service review of maternity services in Wigtownshire was launched on January 18 under independent expert chairs, seeking views from stakeholders to help inform approaches.

On Thursday, Dumfries and Galloway Integration Joint Board’s (IJB) Transformation and Innovation/Futures Committee met with the purpose of considering and discussing the findings in the report and the next steps in moving towards a sustainable approach – to be taken on through the full IJB.

The report set out the work which had taken place to review maternity services and engage with the voice of our local communities, families who had experience of maternity services in Wigtownshire, as well as wider staff groups.

This review was undertaken in the context of the temporary suspension of low-risk, intrapartum maternity services at Galloway Community Hospital which came into effect in 2018 due to staffing pressures.

Option one represents the birthing service currently available in Wigtownshire. It would comprise continued care provision from Community Maternity Hub (Oak Tree Family Centre) and support for home births, but with no provision for intrapartum care within Galloway Community Hospital.

Option two would comprise the continued care delivery from Community Maternity Hub (Oak Tree Family Centre), with the addition of a planned, on call birthing option for low risk births from Clenoch Birth Centre within Galloway Community Hospital.

Under either option, there would be no midwives routinely based at Galloway Community Hospital for wider aspects of care.

Both options achieved the same score of 78 in the scoring process, inclusive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway professional leads who participated in the process. Option two was the preferred option of the professional experts independent to NHS Dumfries and Galloway, with a score of 80.

The report also noted the resource implications for resuming births on a planned, low-risk basis at the Clenoch Birth Centre, at an associated cost of about £103,000.

Contrary to some media reporting, the report was very clear that option 2 would only be for planned, low-risk labour and birth and would not be suitable for all births in the Wigtownshire area.

In the most recent data for Wigtownshire, 23% of all pregnancies were assessed as low-risk. Risk assessment throughout pregnancy and birth is undertaken following nationally recognised standards.

There is a need to highlight that, other than for location, the service provided under the option for planned, low-risk births in the Clenoch Birth Centre would be the same as the regionwide home birth service currently provided for expectant mothers in Wigtownshire.

On Thursday, the Dumfries and Galloway Integration Joint Board’s (IJB) Transformation and Innovation/Futures Committee decided to recommend to the full IJB meeting of September 27 that the two options are taken out to public consultation.

Click here to learn about Right Care, Right Place - our consultation about bed based intermediate care

Consultation underway on bed-based intermediate care

Consultation on bed-based intermediate care within Dumfries and Galloway is now underway, running from April 14 to July 7.

Upcoming drop-in consultation events Lockerbie Town Hall tomorrow, April 21, from 3pm to 7pm.

The consultation will be focused on how to best deliver, as close to local communities as possible, the help people receive between an acute hospital setting and what they are able to manage at home, either independently or with support. 

Details on all in-person drop-in events along with online consultation documents for completion can be found at the website www.dghscp.co.uk/rcrp-consultation

Intermediate care consultation

Consultation to focus on local bed-based care

A STRONG desire to see bed-based intermediate care delivered in the heart of local communities emerged from a major piece of public engagement. 

Building on the feedback received, a period of formal consultation is now set to be launched by Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership – focused on how to best deliver, as close to local communities as possible, the help people receive between an acute hospital setting and what they are able to manage at home, either independently or with support. 

Key to this is a proposed flexible approach to bed-based intermediate care. This could see a proportion of bed capacity within settings reallocated to different roles, such as palliative or ‘step-down’ care – helping to meet a variety of need in the heart of local communities. 

Introducing the consultation which will run from April 14 until July 7, Director of Strategic Planning and Transformation David Rowland said: “We had a fantastic response to our Right Place, Right Care: Intermediate Care engagement, with people right across the region coming forward to share their thoughts and experiences. 

“Bed-based intermediate care takes in everything from care homes to cottage hospitals, extra care housing and short breaks providing respite, and recognises the importance of care and support at home.  

“We need to develop approaches aimed at best meeting the healthcare needs of the local population where these cannot be met at home but do not require the services of a district general hospital. 

“It’s an area set to play an important role within our region over coming years, and so it has been very important to get people’s input to help inform and shape our approaches.” 

Key outcomes from this work is –  

  • Initial modelling which sets out the capacity believed to be needed in each location in years to come. 
  • Proposed discussion around facilities which either currently play a role or which could in the future. 
  • The proposal of a flexible approach to the use of beds.  

Mr Rowland clarifies that, within the flexible approach, each bed would continue to have a set use. 

However, the beds within any facility might not all serve the same purpose – with different ongoing roles for different beds, informed by local need. 

Mr Rowland said: “What we are talking about is using the total capacity more flexibly. With care homes, for example, it’s the idea that – as beds become available or extra beds are added by care home owners – a small number could be allocated for palliative care, step up or step down care, but while ensuring residential need is being properly met. 

“We are preparing to take these proposals for public consultation, along with the modelling we will be basing our planning around. We have also identified facilities which either currently contribute to the intermediate care bed-base right now or which could over coming years, and which we want to discuss with the local communities. 

“It’s very important that everyone is aware of the public consultation taking place from April 14 2023 until July 7 2023, and that they are encouraged and supported to have their say.” 

Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership Chief Officer Julie White has also voiced the call for everyone to participate in the consultation, and to help promote the opportunity to others. 

Ms White said: “The contribution everyone has made to the development of this work through the engagement activity has been invaluable. 

“It’s vitally important that everyone now has the opportunity to review and understand what has emerged from this work, and has the opportunity to provide their response. 

“A core principle of Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership is to deliver services right into the heart of communities, and so it was heartening that this was reflected very prominently in what people were saying. 

“I’d encourage everyone to note how they can participate in the consultation process, to take part, and to help others to do the same.” 

A calendar of in-person engagement events has been scheduled between 21 April 2023 and 7 July 2023, and this is set out as follows: 

21 April at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Lockerbie Town Hall  

24 April at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Virtual  

27 April at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Castle Douglas Town Hall  

03 May at 12 pm to 2 pm – St Ninian’s Centre, Isle of Whithorn 

03 May at 3 pm – 6 pm – Whithorn, venue TBC 

05 May at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – The Usual Place, Dumfries  

16 May at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Moffat Town Hall  

22 May at 1.30pm to 5.30pm – Thornhill Community Centre  

24 May at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Buccleuch Centre, Langholm  

29 May at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Parish Church, Kirkcudbright  

01 June at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Richard Greenhow Centre, Gretna  

06 June at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – McMillan Hall, Newton Stewart  

09 June at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Dalbeattie Town Hall  

12 June at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Corner House Hotel, Annan  

22 June at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Sanquhar Community Centre  

03 July at 3.00pm to 7.00pm – Stranraer Millennium Centre 

Anyone who requires assistance to attend or who wishes to attend the virtual meeting on 24 April is asked to email dg.spcp@nhs.scot 

Information on events is hosted on a dedicated web-page, which will also host all the consultation materials and the consultation document itself. 

The web-page is www.dghscp.co.uk/rcrp-consultation 

The consultation document can be completed online, can be completed in person at any of the events, or taken away and returned by July 7 2023 by emailing to dgcommunications@nhs.scot or by post to Communications Team, DGRI, A75, Cargenbridge, DG2 8RX. 

Partnership calls for questions on a challenging year 

Annual Review Postponed
Unfortunately we have been made aware of a technical issue that has resulted in any questions submitted prior to 23 January 2023 not arriving in our mailbox.
The IJB has decided to postpone the Annual Review to enable people to submit their questions.
If you submitted a question prior to 23 January 2023, please resubmit your question.
We will be recording the answers at a later date.
Thank you for your patience.
 

DUMFRIES and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership senior managers are ready to take questions on its performance in 2021-2022, following the publication of its latest Annual Review.  

The Review, covering the year from April 2021 to March 2022, praises health and social care staff for their work fighting the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic – and highlights many pressures which continue to this day. Senior management will discuss the review and answer questions in an online meeting later this month. Questions can be sent in by visiting https://dghscp.co.uk/performance-and-data/annual-review/ 

David Rowland is the Director of Strategic Planning and Transformation for the HSCP, and he says: “The Annual Review is how the Partnership is held to account. The Scottish government has set nine health and wellbeing objectives for every region in the country, and we have to hold ourselves to them and report how well we are doing.  

“2021-2022 has been a very tough year for Dumfries and Galloway, and health and social care have been under unprecedented pressure – pressure that continues to this day. The Review recognises areas where we have done well, and areas where we have not yet met our ambitions and aspirations. It also talks about the change and innovation that has happened over the year, a lot of it driven by the pandemic, and how that has improved services for people in the region. 

“The Partnership is accountable to the people of Dumfries and Galloway. Anyone can ask senior management a question about the Partnership’s performance at the meeting this month, and get an answer in public.” 

A panel of senior managers from Dumfries and Galloway Council and NHS Dumfries and Galloway, including Partnership Chief Officer Julie White, DGC Chief Social Work Officer Lillian Cringles, Partnership Chief Finance Officer Katy Kerr, Integration Joint Board Chair Laura Douglas, and IJB Vice-Chair Andy McFarlane will discuss the review’s findings in an online meeting on 25th January.  

All questions are welcome – anyone in the region, including Partnership staff, can send in a question for the panel by visiting https://dghscp.co.uk/performance-and-data/annual-review/ A video and transcript of the meeting will be published shortly after the meeting finishes.  

The Review is available now online at https://dghscp.co.uk/performance-and-data/annual-review/ and highlights some of the partnership’s achievements. Alcohol and drug treatments are promptly available, and most people say they are able to look after their own health – Dumfries and Galloway is significantly ahead of the Scottish average in both areas. The region also has some of the most successful vaccination programmes in the UK, both for COVID-19 and for other diseases. 

However, rising demand for health and social care, together with staff shortages, put a heavy burden on the people working across the Partnership. Waiting lists have grown, and in some cases planned care and operations have been delayed.  

Support for unpaid Carers has been a priority with the opening of the new Carers Centre at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary. The Partnership has also been working on making care more accessible and more efficient, through projects such as Home Teams for coordinating care delivered at home, Care Call to provide rapid assistance to vulnerable people at home, and the Single Access Point for reaching all health and social care services across the region. 

The Annual Performance Report is available at https://dghscp.co.uk/performance-and-data/annual-review/  An Easy Read version is also available for anyone who has difficulty reading.  

Unprecedented pressures

Massive pressures faced by region's health and social care

UNPRECEDENTED pressures are being faced by the region’s health and social care system – in line with the rest of Scotland, and the UK as a whole.
Julie White is Chief Officer of Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, and she said: “The pressures are now greater than seen during the peak of the COVID pandemic.
“They are being driven by a combination of factors, including very high rates of flu and other respiratory illness currently circulating within communities – resulting in high numbers of vulnerable people requiring immediate medical care.
“The health and social care system is also supporting many older and vulnerable individuals who have multiple, complex needs that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“We are having to make day by day decisions on our capacity to deliver planned surgery. This is distressing for patients who receive late notice cancellation but reflects the prioritisation of those with the most immediate and pressing need.
“Similarly, we are exploring options to facilitate the accelerated discharge of patients. Currently, a very significant proportion of hospital staff are supporting patients who no longer have a need for further medical treatment or rehabilitation.
“It is essential that we do everything we can to return these individuals home or to a homely setting in order that we are able to provide the support to those most unwell patients – where immediate help can potentially be life-saving.
“We are appreciative of all support in this, particularly from all families and the thousands of Carers who already contribute so much to the sustainability of health and social care delivery.
“If you are able to think of ways in which you can support a loved one to get home from hospital now they have no further medical need to be there, please do get in touch with them and their clinicians.
“At this very challenging time, our priority has to be to minimise the risk of harm to individuals.
“Today, well over 100 people are in hospital beds whose needs could be better met at home or in a homely setting, important operations are being cancelled and our Emergency Departments are under significant strain. Our GP practices, mental health teams and community-based health and social care teams are also experiencing unprecedented demands.
“To be clear, the primary consideration here is not facilities or equipment, but having the necessary volumes of staffing who have the skill and capacity to provide treatment and care to those in most urgent need.
“At this time, difficult decisions will need to be taken to ensure our staff can help meet the most urgent need and to ensure that our hospital has the capacity to deal with the next emergency attendance.
“We will keep you informed of this position and the difficult decisions which need to be taken to deal with this unprecedented level of pressure. It is likely that these pressures will persist in line with the traditional flu season and we are unlikely to see significant improvement for some weeks.”

Drop-in COVID-19 and flu vaccination clinics opening

THE DUMFRIES and Galloway winter flu and COVID vaccination effort has reached thousands of people in the region already – and from Monday 5th December anyone eligible for a vaccine will be able to get one without an appointment.

Drop-in vaccination clinics open across Dumfries and Galloway from Monday 5th December, to anyone eligible for a free vaccine because they are over 50, at risk due to a medical condition, a registered carer, or a health or social care worker.

The national booking portal is still open at https://vacs.nhs.scot/csp, and people are encouraged to use it to book an appointment if they can. Those turning up at a drop-in clinic may have to queue if the clinic is busy, and should dress warmly.

Public health consultant Dr Nigel Calvert says: “We have had great success with the winter flu vaccination and COVID-19 booster programmes so far, but there are still some people in the region who have not yet had the vaccines they’re entitled to.

“The vaccination programme has only a few weeks more to run, and we are hoping that the drop-in clinics will allow many more people to protect themselves now that winter is almost here.

“Flu and COVID-19 can be serious, especially for older people or those with other health conditions, and it’s best to prepare before the holidays. Even if you aren’t worried about the health risks to yourself, if you catch flu or COVID-19 you could pass it on to a relative or friend who is more at risk, and they could become seriously ill.

“So if you drop in to one of the clinics next week for your jags, you’ll have the best possible protection against flu and COVID-19 in time for Christmas.”

Times and places of drop-in clinics

Monday 5th December

Waverley Medical Centre 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Annan Vaccine Centre 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Canonbie Village Hall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Tuesday 6th December

Waverley Medical Centre 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Kirkcudbright Hospital 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Thornhill Rehab Suite 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Moffat Hospital 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Wednesday 7th December

Newton Stewart Hospital 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Thursday 8th December

Waverley Medical Centre 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Kirkcudbright Hospital 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Thornhill Rehab Suite 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Annan Vaccine Centre 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Friday 9th December

Newton Stewart Hospital* 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Langholm county car park 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.00

Saturday 10th December

Waverley Medical Centre 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Langholm county car park 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.00

Sunday 11th December

Newton Stewart Hospital 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Kirkcudbright Hospital 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Sanquhar Community Hall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30

Annan Vaccine Centre 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30

Friday 9th December 

Newton Stewart Hospital 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30 

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30 

Langholm county car park 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.00 

Saturday 10th December 

Waverley Medical Centre 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30 

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30 

Langholm county car park 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.00 

Sunday 11th December 

Newton Stewart Hospital 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30 

Kirkcudbright Hospital 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30 

Sanquhar Community Hall 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-15.30 

Annan Vaccine Centre 09.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.30 

Monday 12th December 

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09:15-16:00 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09:15-16:00 

Annan Vaccine Centre 09:15-16:00 

Tuesday 13th December 

Waverley Medical Centre 09:15-16:00 

Kirkcudbright Hospital 09:15-15:00 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09:15-16:00 

Thornhill Rehab Suite 09:15-15:00 

Moffat Hospital 09:15-15:00 

Wednesday 14th December 

Newton Stewart Hospital 09:15-15:00 

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09:15-16:00 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09:15-16:00 

Lockerbie Medical Centre 09:15-15:00 

Thursday 15th December 

Waverley Medical Centre 09:15-16:00 

Kirkcudbright Hospital 09:15-15:00 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09:15-16:00 

Annan Vaccine Centre 09:15-16:00 

Friday 16th December 

Newton Stewart Hospital 09:15-15:00 

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09:15-16:00 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09:15-16:00 

Annan Vaccine Centre 09:15-16:00 

Monday 19th December 

Waverley Medical Centre 09:15-16:00 

Castle Douglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09:15-16:00 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09:15-16:00 

Annan Vaccine Centre 09:15-16:00 

Tuesday 20th December 

Waverley Medical Centre 09:15-16:00 

Kirkcudbright Hospital 09:15-15:00 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09:15-16:00 

Moffat Hospital 09:15-15:00 

Wednesday 21st December 

Newton Stewart Hospital 09:15-15:00 

Castle Doglas Hospital Outpatients Dept 09:15-16:00 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09:15-16:00 

Sanquhar Community Hall 09:15-15:00 

Annan Vaccine Centre 09:15-16:00 

Thursday 22nd December 

Waverley Medical Centre 09:15-16:00 

Kirkcudbright Hospital 09:15-15:00 

Vaccine Centre, Mountainhall 09:15-16:00 

Annan Vaccine Centre 09:15-16:00 

Region’s mental health youth forum in running for top award

A GROUP of young people in the region aged 11 to 25 are in the running for a top award in recognition for their work around speaking out on mental health issues.

The Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Youth Forum are volunteers from across Dumfries and Galloway who are either currently accessing services or have in the past.

And on November 24, they will be attending the Dumfries and Galloway Youth Awards at Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries as finalists in the Health and Wellbeing category.

Alison Telfer is CAMHS Participation Lead, and she said: “We are delighted for our CAMHS Youth Forum that they have been recognised for all of their excellent work and are finalists within the Dumfries and Galloway Youth Awards.

“Our forum members play an extremely important role in informing and shaping our approaches to delivery of services, as well as raising wider awareness around mental health issues affecting young people.”

The CAMHS Youth Forum was established online by NHS Dumfries and Galloway during COVID lockdown, and the young volunteers are all passionate about sharing their lived experiences with others, challenging attitudes and behaviours associated with mental health, using creative, fun and innovative ways to do this.

Erin is a member of the CAMHS Youth Forum, and she said: “Being part of the forum is such an amazing opportunity for me and all the young people involved.

“I have been able to share my own personal experiences and feelings to try and help better the service. I have gained a lot of confidence through this forum and can now confidently talk to new people, meet new friends and have realised that other people are passionate about the same things I am.

It’s amazing that us young people are able to be involved and talk to professionals about what we feel needs improvement within CAMHS as although we are the future of the service, we are also the present and we know what our generation needs right now.

“It is brilliant that we, as a forum, can help promote how important looking after our mental health is because in reality, everyone has mental health, some people just need more help with theirs and that’s totally okay! We need to show people that they are not alone and it is okay to reach out for help. We need to break the stigma.”

Rhianna is a member of the CAMHS Youth Forum, and she said: “This whole experience has been incredible, with so many more opportunities that we have been able to get involved in, speaking with policy makers, sharing our experiences within a national webinars, co-producing and designing resources and developing a new CAMHS website alongside health professionals.”

CAMHS are a specialist NHS community-based service throughout Dumfries and Galloway, which provides services for children and young people up to the age of 18 who are experiencing moderate to severe mental health difficulties.

CAMHS provide multi-disciplinary assessment, understanding and treatment for the difficulties that children, young people and families are experiencing.

If you would like to speak with a mental health professional or make a referral into CAMHS either contact: (01387) 244662 or email; dg.camhs-mail@nhs.scot

Tests and masks still expected for visits to hospitals and care homes

ANYONE planning to visit a hospital or care home in Dumfries and Galloway will still be expected to first test themselves for COVID-19. 

Similarly, anyone visiting a health care setting or a care home will continue to be expected to wear a face mask if able to do so. 

Changes around testing in Scotland have seen the end of regular free asymptomatic testing via Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) for most people.  

However, free LFD kits are being provided nationally for groups including those visiting hospitals or care home. 

In order to obtain a free LFD kit for this purpose, visit the national NHS Inform website at www.nhsinform.scot or telephone 0800 0282816. 

Consultant in Public Health Dr Andrew Rideout said: “Visitors to hospitals and care homes are among certain groups where free tests continue to be made available, in order to protect high risk settings, support clinical care and for surveillance purposes. 

“Those groups also include health and social care workers, patients groups eligible for treatment, hospital patients, unpaid carers and people in prison. 

“Meanwhile, people are also still expected to wear a face mask when visiting a health care setting such as a hospital, a clinic or GP practice, or when visiting a care home.” 

A ‘stay at home’ message is being promoted from this Sunday for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 using an LFD.  

People who have symptoms of COVID-19 and who have a fever or are too unwell to carry out normal activities will also be asked to ‘stay at home’ while they are unwell or have a fever. They will no longer be advised to take a PCR test. 

Anyone who is unwell and needs further help should speak to their GP or should call NHS 24 by dialling 111. 

Full guidance on the changes taking effect from this Sunday May 1 can be found by visiting the website https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested/pages/changes-from-1-may-2022/ 

Call to help shape health and social care engagement strategy

VOICES from across Dumfries and Galloway are needed to establish a strategy aimed at ensuring everyone is encouraged and supported to shape approaches to health and social care.

A 14-week period of public consultation is now underway around Dumfries and Galloway Integration Joint Board’s (IJB) Draft Participation and Engagement Strategy for 2022/25.

Integration Joint Board Chair Laura Douglas said: “It is vital that the approaches which are taken around health and social care within Dumfries and Galloway are informed and shaped by the people within our region.

“The IJB has a responsibility for health and social care planning within the region, and a responsibility for overseeing how health and social care is provided.

“However, the way that health and social care is delivered must be shaped by everyone in Dumfries and Galloway – including the people delivering those services, the people who access them, their Carers, and their families.

“The IJB wants to make sure that everyone has the chance to be involved in developing these approaches, and that they are encouraged and supported to do so.”

To this end, a Draft Participation and Engagement Strategy for 2022/25 has been developed which aims to set out how approaches to participation and engagement are undertaken and improved over the next three years.

In its draft form, and informed by national and local guidance and engagement, the strategy has five goals:

  • Include engagement in all the work that we do to develop and deliver care and support.
  • People who deliver health and social care and support will feel able to engage with the people they support in an open and honest manner. They will ensure that the public has a say in all service planning, improvements and developments.
  • Listen to the widest possible range of people, so that everything that we do is influenced by their views.
  • Keep people well informed and help them when they want to give their views, so that they contribute to planning health and social care and support.
  • All engagement and consultation activities must be high-quality and reach a wide range of people.

Ms Douglas said: “We’d strongly encourage everyone to review the current draft version of the strategy, and to get involved in helping to shape it into a document which will be central to our approaches over the next three years.”

Consultation on the draft strategy is being undertaken on behalf of the IJB by Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, and will conclude on 5 June 2022.

Anyone in the region will now be able to download the draft strategy and give their views through an online survey. A downloadable version of the survey for those who would prefer to print it out and reply.

An easy read version of the strategy and a British Sign Language version are now also available.

Printed copies of the survey and the strategy can be requested from the DGHSCP communications team at the address below.

Online events over the next two months will allow members of the public and other interested groups to make their views known:

 Seldom-heard groups: 26 April at 2 pm 

Community council members: 27 April at 2.30 pm

Public events: 4 May at 5.30 pm and 11 May at 5.30 pm

 Staff at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway Council, and elsewhere in the Health and Social Care Partnership: 5 May at 2 pm and 12 May at 2 pm

Anyone interested in attending any of these events should email dg.engagement@nhs.scot. Completed surveys, and any other comments on the draft strategy, can also be sent to dg.engagement@nhs.scot, or posted to: Communications Team, DGHSCP, Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, Cargenbridge, Dumfries DG2 8RX.

Grateful thanks for support shown for stretched health and social care system

GRATITUDE is being expressed for the support shown to the region’s health and social care system in the face of major challenges.


It follows a request to communities to take actions which can support the system, and for families and loved ones of hospital in-patients to help facilitate a speedy discharge.


Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership Chief Officer Julie White said: “We’re very grateful to everyone for the responses we’ve seen after we highlighted the very serious pressures being felt right across health and social care in Dumfries and Galloway.


“Even just being aware of the pressures and being prepared for and understanding our current limitations is of help and appreciated.”


Mrs White added: “As we noted, staffing pressures are a fundamental aspect of the current pressures right across our system.


“Although we have sizable numbers of people needing treatment in hospital, we simultaneously have seen significant increases in the number and complexity of people who require support to remain in their own homes and to return home from hospital. Recruitment challenges are limiting our ability to meet this increased need.


“This is despite recent success recruiting to Dumfries and Galloway Council’s in-house Care and Support Services (CASS), where the enlisting of 32 staff equated to a further 784 hours of care provision – supporting the care at home visits in our region which now total 80,000 every single week.


“As a consequence, you will hopefully be aware of the concentrated and ongoing recruitment activity aimed at bolstering our care at home services – supported by the increase in pay for this sector announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care.


“As that work continues, we are recruiting health and care support workers to help support care at home services, and we have multi-disciplinary teams reviewing people’s needs and identifying new and alternative ways of meeting those needs.


“We’re evolving our ways of working, developing models which will look to safely maximise hospital discharges and looking at options for how people requiring long-term care can be supported in the interim until that longer term arrangement is in place. Thanks to our Community Nursing Teams, our STARS team, social care teams and the staff deployed from our empty cottage hospitals, we are now supporting more than 100 people at home who would have otherwise been delayed in hospital awaiting packages of care.


“Huge credit and appreciation needs to be voiced for the many thousands of unpaid Carers in our region, as without them our health and social care systems would simply not be able to function. The pandemic has led to an increasing number of people becoming Carers as well as adding to the huge impact that caring has on those who were already caring.

“This current situation may mean that there could be added requests made of families and Carers at this time and we acknowledge the added pressure this may cause. It is important that Carers are considered as partners alongside our health and social care teams and made aware that there is support available to them via local organisations like D&G Carers Centre and others who can provide ongoing information, advice and support to anyone caring for a relative or friend.


“Technology continues to evolve, and we are looking to harness developments there which can help across all of health and social care. The use of technology to support people to be as independent as possible at home will be a key feature of our work this winter.


“Meanwhile, we are reconfiguring our approaches so that we have Mountainhall Treatment Centre now supporting the flow of patients out of DGRI, and staff being deployed to where they can help people to safely return to their homes as soon as possible – which is the central ethos of our Home Teams way of working across our communities.

“And very significantly, work is taking place with the region’s third sector partners around the role they currently, and could in future, play in supporting people to live in their own homes. I am also very grateful to our Police Scotland colleagues and our Scottish Fire and Rescue Service colleagues who are offering their support to help with things such as welfare checks on our most vulnerable people, and the ongoing vital work carried out by the Scottish Ambulance Service.”


All of these actions are being supported by an increase in funding received from the Scottish Government.

However, Mrs White warns that money in itself is not the solution to the challenges still weighing very heavily across the region’s health and social care system.


Mrs White said: “The bottom line is that this is about people. It’s about increases in the number of people in our region who need treatment and support, as our population continues to age.

“It’s also about challenges in finding the staff and volunteers from our working age populations to meet those needs.


“And it’s about how everyone accesses health and social care, how we maximise the existing resources, and how we help look after ourselves and each other to try and make certain that our systems work to ensure everyone gets the right level of care, in the right place, at the right time.”