Talks Started For Replacement Over Eventide Home
It’s all change for care on the island as new rules come into force next year. And talks are underway at last about a new care centre for Tiree and Coll.
The island’s nursing and care services are being amalgamated, following groundbreaking legislation from the Scottish Parliament. The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill came into law in February and compels Health Boards and Council Social Work departments to join up. Highland Health Board and Argyll and Bute Council are in the process of setting up an ‘Integration Joint Board’, which starts work next April.
This will mean the island’s district nurse team (but not the doctors), carers who work at Taigh an Rubha in Scarinish, and home helps will all have one boss – and one budget! It is hoped that this will end the debates between the two sides as to whether something is ‘health’ or ‘social work’, and put an end to the situation where patients can’t leave hospital because the paperwork takes so long. It’s the modern way. The idea is this: the person who needs care is central, and everyone looking after that person must be pulling together – not scoring points off each other. Up north, Highland Health Board and Highland Council having been doing this for a couple of years, with general approval from all concerned. At the same time Argyll and Bute Housing Department is leading a proposal to build a new care centre on Tiree, with colleagues from the Health Board, Social Work and a housing association. Cùram, the island’s care charity, has been invited to be part of the group. It is widely acknowledged that there are real question marks over the benefits of any future investment in the current Eventide Home in Scarnish. Cùram has been lobbying over two years for action after the Council tried (unsuccessfully) to encourage a private operator to take over the unit.
The most recent local care centre is Bowman’s Court in Mull, which opened its doors last year. Instead of a ‘Home’ the Council and Health Board have built a complex of self-contained, un-furnished flats, each with their own private entrance, kitchen and bathroom. All residents have their own individual, tailor-made care package, provided by their own carers rather than a fixed ‘staff’. People living there are now tenants, not residents. It’s not the way we’ve been used to on Tiree, but it’s the way most care centres, and care services, are being designed these days.
Ideas are at an early stage, but Cùram is keen to have a communal area and kitchen as part of the centre, so that groups like the lunch club can be involved. The group is also lobbying hard to retain a medical bed to save some trips to hospital.
Building new facilities mean that nursing and social services would have a new combined base, instead of working out of three – the Home, surgery and Business Centre. The project is so new that no decision has been made as to where all these facilities will be located. Next Wednesday there will be an important meeting where you will have a chance to hear about these big changes, changes that will affect many of us as we get older and frailer. Shaun Paul Davidson, the local Social Work manager, and Caroline Henderson, who heads up the local Health Board, are coming to Tiree to hold a public meeting between planes in the hall: Wednesday 16 July at 11 am in An Talla.
I know it’s a frantic time of year, and it’s in the middle of the working day, but it’s vital that as many people as possible come out to hear what is being proposed – and tell us what you think of it! When the new Mull care centre at Bowman Court was built recently, a lot of local people were unhappy with the closure of the cottage hospital and the building of the new centre away from the main villages. This is your early-bird chance to hear what’s on offer – and tell them what needs to be improved!
Please try and be there – your support is needed.