Carry On! Curam Told

Curam Thiriodh“Carry on the way you’re going!” was the unanimous verdict at a large public meeting in An Talla on Monday, as members of the Cùram Thiriodh working group explained what they had been doing over the past year and their thoughts for the way forward.

60 people came out on a bitter winter’s evening to hear what was happening to care services. Dr Holliday, chair of the group which is seeking to defend and develop care on the two islands of Coll and Tiree, gave a report on their busy year.

Denying misleading reports in this week’s Oban Times that Cùram was planning a takeover of the Home, he said the group was delighted with the Council’s assurances that the Home would remain open under Council control. Care at home, or the home help service, was set to be privatised from next August, however, depending on a final go-ahead by councillors in March.

At the moment the Council, whose care bill on Tiree is £800,000 a year, could only afford free care to a handful of cases of the highest priority. 92% of the elderly on Tiree were receiving no formal care. The group wanted to expand services, to include day care and the care of younger people with mental and physical problems. The expansion of the Lunch Club, financed by charity and staffed by volunteers, was just what was needed. The group had met a number of senior executives from different bodies who had warm words for the Tiree project but so far there had been little action.

There was general agreement that there were problems with the fabric and design of the existing Home. Because projects like this can take up to 15 years to complete, Cùram wanted to start planning for a new Home facility now. If the Council and Health Board gave the go-ahead, Cùram were also ready to discuss new ways of working, bringing the health and social care staff together in one integrated team, as they have in Bute. The meeting split up on their tables as animated discussion filled the hall. At a question and answer session later, speakers emphasised the importance of the medical beds at Taigh an Rudha, and suggested asking Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon to Tiree to push the project on.

“I was delighted with the evening,” Dr Holliday told An Tirisdeach after the meeting. “There is strong public support on the island for Cùram’s ideas, and this will give us confidence as we continue negotiations with the powers that be and develop services ourselves.”

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