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West Dunbartonshire

Working with colleagues from West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership we held two sessions to hear feedback about local priorities and plan and how they aligned with the strategic vision set out in Moving Forward Together to transform health and social care.

The first session wash held in Alexandria on 13 March 2019 and Beth Culshaw, the Chief Officer for West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership and Jonathan Best, the Chief Operating Officer for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde presented to 26 people. The second session was in Clydebank on 19 March and here Beth Culshaw presented alongside Dr David Stewart, the Deputy Medical Director for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to another 26 people.

At each meeting there was question and answer sessions with the whole audience and smaller group discussion where we asked people about; the direction of travel set out in Moving Forward Together and what is happening via Health and Social Care Partnership plans; and what matters most to people to help us develop future models of health and social care to meet people’s needs.

Questions we heard

In Alexandria:

  • The Vale of Leven Hospital and future plans and commitments including capital investment. Have any plans been developed that might have an impact on local services and will there be a commitment to engage with local people as part of any service redesign process
    • What type of services might we see shift from the hospital to the community and GP practices
  • The current issues and pressures across hospital and community care that can delay discharge and place considerable burden on family and carers when things like personal care and home adaptations. There are particular issues for those who are elderly and frail and for those living with or supporting someone with dementia
    • Is there a published local dementia strategy for West Dunbartonshire and important that organisation such as Alzheimer’s Scotland are involved
    • With services moving to the community what are the plans for the Dementia Unit at the Vale of Leven Hospital
  • How will centralisation of specialist services affect local people including access, transport and providing support to get people to hospital in particular the RAH
  • The impact of digital and digital readiness of people to access and use services differently
  • How will local plans and Moving Forward Together affect mental health and learning disability services and ensuring that other organisations
  • Evening meetings to engage with people who can’t attend during the day due to other commitments

In Clydebank:

  • Why are appointments not coordinated better so that people and especially the elderly don’t have to travel across different sites
  • Prevention and the need to focus on the community, approaches and activities to keep people healthy.
  • Transport and how it is difficult to not only access services in Glasgow and at the Queen Elizabeth, but also locally and for example it will take two buses from some areas to get to the site of the planned Health and Social Care Hub
    • Will future plan means that people might be able to access more service locally via their GP practice to prevent having to travel
  • Loneliness and social isolation being an issue that is not picked up enough and if more people are to remain independent at home then partnership working with third sector and local groups is important
  • There needs to be a greater focus on carers and support for them recognising the vital role they play in preventing hospital admission
  • There is a lot to do to ensure that services work more seamlessly, but also there needs to be a focus and support so that people can better look after their own health – the panned new Hub will play an important role in this for local people
  • The need to get more people involved in meetings and raise awareness in local communities

Feedback we received

Across the two sessions there was in-depth discussion and all comments have been recorded and will be looked at to help us create new content for future engagement about the Programme. However, for this commentary the key themes that people spoke to us about are:

What matters most?

  • Person centered services that are seamless with better coordination and communication across settings and in particular giving patents and carers access to information to help them make informed decisions about care
  • Access to services in terms of waiting times for appointments and the geographic location with the need to keep as many services as possible local due to transport issues in West Dunbartonshire particularly to hospital based services in the Royal Alexandria and Queen Elizabeth hospitals. 
  • Local investment in services in West Dunbartonshire and people welcomed the new Hub in Clydebank, but wanted continued investment and particularly a commitment to the Vale of Leven Hospital 
  • Confidence in the services that you are referred to being appropriate, particularly if new roles or ways of working and that those with greatest need get the most expert help and services they need when they need it
  • Ongoing engagement and having open conversation with local people about the future of services particularly where these might have an impact on local hospital  services

About the Programme and Direction of travel

People understood that how we provide health and social care needs to change and the principles and concepts that underpin the Moving Forward Together Programme are widely accepted. The idea of being able to access more services in the local community was welcomed and, for those who can use and where appropriate, the role of digital technology to enable this and reduce having to travel was recognised.

However, people also expressed concern that community services need resourcing and the capacity to enable services to shift from the hospital to the community. This will not only prevent complications such as delayed discharge, but also ensure that there is no additional burden to those who care for and look after people in their own homes. Crucial to this is that services need to be more joined, share information and work across settings and traditional boundaries to focus on the needs of the individual.

There was recognition that people will have to travel for some specialist services, but transport and access is a concern; however initiatives like patient focussed booking of appointments needs to be considered to minimise the impact that travel can have on people’s lives. The new health and Social Care Hub in Clydebank and the opportunities that this might offer to deliver more care locally was commended, but that continued investment is required locally to ensure a range of facilities remain fit for purpose.

Mental health was mentioned as something that people would like more detail about across the life course with information covering services that meet the needs of young people to those living with dementia. This included the need for health and social care services to recognise and work more closely with other community assets that help improve all aspects of health and wellbeing.

There is a need to ensure that communication and engagement not only continues, but that other key people, Carers Centres, Third Sector and community planning partners are involved going forwards and that local knowledge is critical in providing service to meet the needs of people in West Dunbartonshire. Also there is a need to engage with, hear from and support the younger generation to embed and promote culture change to take greater responsibility to improve and self-manage health; and to act as ambassadors by educating others on how appropriately access and use services.

The Moving forward together Programme would like to thank West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership for the opportunity to present and importantly thanks to all those who participated and provided feedback on the day.

If you attended this event and would like to provide further comment then you can email us at: