Saturday 5th of May 2018

Did you attend the huge Pro-independence march on Saturday? If you were there, please share your photos on our Facebook Page.

What an incredible day!

Check out this Time Lapse!

A tiny sample of some of the thousands of  photos and videos online below;

Russell calls for fundamental change at Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership

Russell calls for fundamental change at Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership as plans for yet more savage cuts emerge

Local Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell has called for major changes to the management and governance of the Argyll & Bute Health & Social Care Partnership after plans for the consideration – in secret – of yet more savage cuts to health and social care provision were leaked to newspapers.

Mr Russell said:

“Across the country Health & Social Care Partnerships have faced up to the challenge of change and worked with communities to ensure that services do so too. As a result in most places the integration of Health and Social care has produced better outcomes and more effective use of resources.

But here in Argyll & Bute too much centralised bureaucracy, ineffective, confusing consultations and misguided, and often futile, attempts to force through unacceptable closures – like that of Struan Lodge in Dunoon – have resulted in an ever worsening financial position.

So despite their spin to the contrary the reality is that the recurring financial problems facing the senior management and board of the Argyll & Bute Health and Social Care Partnership are in substantial part the result of their own shortcomings. They arise directly from their failure to successfully change and develop what their organisation does in order to match changing need in the area. This is compounded by the failure of the organisation to implement effective budgetary control year after year.

I know from my constituency work that local people and hardworking health and care staff are utterly fed up with this situation and with the constant pressures on services.

Now – to make it even worse – many of those in the front line face losing their jobs as a result of a new set of cuts being drawn up a fact to which the trade union Unison has drawn attention in its open letter published last week.

To make matters worse the Partnership is not being open about what it are planning. Whilst they will put a few things on the table next week at their open meeting, they have now admitted to keeping secret a document which they intend to discuss later in private and which details a terrifying further range of options for more cost cutting.

These are believed to include the complete privatisation of all elderly care, the closure of all day centres, a reduction in the number of midwives and other essential staff and yet more pressure on the most vulnerable such as further reduction of the help available for sleepovers.

Yet the Partnership, by its own admission, hasn’t even met its current targets for cost savings, for example on the reduction in the use of prescription drugs.

In addition some of the items in the leaked documents appear to suggest cuts that even those in charge realise can’t work and which they know will be subject to massive opposition. Some may actually be against the law.

To put it bluntly the previous programmes of cuts haven’t worked. Some of the cuts they are now planning can’t work. Yet the senior management’s only answer is to do again what they have done before in the desperate hope it might produce a different result this time.

It won’t. Even if these cuts happened we would be back again next year in the same position. It is the people who are running the show who are the problem because they have the wrong solutions. That needs to change, and change now.

Enough is enough. Regrettably the Partnership has failed to deliver the health services that are required and show no sign of being able to do so. I have therefore written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health asking her to ensure that support and assistance is given to the Partnership in this crisis in order to find a way out and I will be meeting her later this week.

It is essential that some stability is provided, either from within the organisation or from outside intervention so that management and governance changes are made which will produce an organisation fit for purpose, dedicated to supporting those excellent health and care staff across the area who are trying to deliver high quality health and social care and are capable of taking these services forward in a time of great demographic change.

Nobody would say that providing health and social care is easy in current circumstances but here in Argyll & Bute there are many good people on the ground trying their best. The way in which they and the organisation they work for is managed and governed is the problem and that is what must be tackled now in a new and positive spirit.”

Additional Funding For NHS Winter Resilience

£8.4 million to support different ways of working in winter

Source: Additional funding for NHS winter resilience

NHS Boards will receive an additional £8.4 million for resilience this winter ahead of the busy Christmas and New Year period.

The funding supports implementation of Sir Lewis Ritchie’s report on public holiday working across health and social care, published today, which outlines a range of recommendations that will support people to transfer seamlessly through the system without delay. These include:

  • well-co-ordinated, multidisciplinary urgent health and social care provision across the whole care system
  • sufficient levels and numbers of senior decision makers from all sectors rostered
  • NHS 24 providing enhanced support for self-management and direction to the right service where needed
  • promoting community pharmacies as a source of advice and medicines
  • proactive discharge planning in advance of public holidays

The emerging findings have been shared in the past few months across the NHS and have already been incorporated into winter planning. This will provide an additional platform for health boards and integration authorities to align existing practices and staffing to support optimum access to services over public holiday periods.

Total investment for health and social care services to deal with winter pressures and unscheduled care will now be a record high of £22.4 million this year.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“This additional funding, a record level for any one year, will help the provision of services throughout Christmas and New Year.

“We expect challenges over winter and NHS boards are coping well with the demands placed on them so far. Thousands of NHS, social care, independent and third sector staff work extremely hard on public holidays and throughout the year, providing a lifeline of care and support to patients across Scotland.

“Boards have already made progress implementing the recommendations Sir Lewis and his team put forward in their planning and preparation this winter. Going forward I would expect partnership and professional organisations to be fully engaged in the design and delivery of all planned changes to services and the workforce.

“Sir Lewis’s report, supported by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Royal College of GPs and the National Out of Hours Group amongst others, highlights that we are on the right track in prioritising service change at local level and that community pharmacies and NHS 24 are available  throughout winter to keep people healthy.”

Sir Lewis Ritchie said: “Getting urgent and emergency care right is of paramount importance for the people of Scotland and for those who provide care for them. Significant progress is already underway – our report calls for further rapid and cohesive whole system action. We will need to do this with resolve to do this well, and to do this together.”

David Chung, Vice-President Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland (RCEM) says: RCEM Scotland would like to thank Scottish Government for its willingness to acknowledge, and attempt to moderate the effects of public holidays on health and social care in Scotland. This exercise has only been possible through the combined efforts of many collaborating to provide guidance for the system, and we are grateful to everyone for engaging and giving their time and expertise to this issue. We hope it will be one of many such collaborative efforts to provide the best health and social care for Scotland in times to