Taking care of the public in rural areas

John Ross, head of Wigtown social care March 2019
John Ross, head of Wigtown social care March 2019

A project aimed at transforming approaches to local health and social care has been drilling down into a series of specific topics – with ideas for tests of change now beginning to take shape.

Urgent and emergency medicine as well as supporting healthy ageing are some of the most recent topics which have been explored by health professionals in partnership with local communities through the initiative Transforming Health and Social Care in Wigtownshire.

John Ross is independent chair of the programme, and he said: “Transforming Wigtownshire sees health and social care professionals working in partnership with communities to develop new, sustainable approaches to health and social care, making best use of all available resources.

“Because of its rurality Wigtownshire is facing very similar challenges to other rural areas in Scotland. Recruiting and retaining health and social care staff is one challenge we face, and making best use of finances.

“Meanwhile, we are aware that the structures through which help with health and social care is accessed need to change in order to be sustainable.”

Mr Ross added: “There’s been a lot going on in recent months. Teams have been working collecting information about people’s priorities, while encouraging them to come forward and help develop new approaches.”

Teams have been carrying out surveys, visiting community councils in Wigtownshire, and taking displays to shows and events.

A Programme Board is now meeting regularly to help oversee the work being undertaken.

That includes work streams focused on specific topics and themes. In recent weeks, they have been looking at urgent and emergency care, gaining an understanding of what both mean.