NHS Western Isles held their AILIP Engagement Event on a very sunny 15 October at the Cabarfeidh Hotel in Stornoway. 70 delegates attended, an impressive number for the Western Isles, especially as it was our half term break and many people were off island. Those attending were drawn from health, third sector including local and national representatives from the mental health charity Penumbra, patient and carer representatives, and the local authority.
The event was opened by Gordon Jamieson, Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles, who introduced Dr Ron Culley, Chief Officer Health and Social Care Partnership, to the room. Dr Culley took up post in July and attended the event even though he was on annual leave that day.
Chrisanne Campbell, Nurse Director at NHSWI then gave a short presentation on our NDP journey. She told the audience that 27% of the Western Isles population has seen an AHP in the last year – a truly impressive statistic, and even more so given the challenges of offering services to patients in our more remote and rural locations, such as Barra, and always within the 18 week waiting time. When we began co-ordinating our work on the NDP, seven out of 24 indicators were green, but by March this year, 17 of our indicators had reached green status, using the parameters set out by the Scottish Government. The NDP gave us an opportunity to pull all of our work together and allowed us to see exactly how much we were doing in some areas and where we needed to do more in others. There were relatively few areas where we needed to do a big piece of work –mostly around reablement and joint working with our social care partners, and we have made a lot of progress in these areas over the past few months.
By this point, the audience were ready for a bit of chatting themselves. Our first workshop discussion around the first question “What matters to YOU as an individual to keep you healthy, active and independent?” led to some really good feedback and ideas we can take forward locally.
Two patients then spoke and answered questions about their experiences, which had also involved treatment and care in mainland hospitals. Their accounts were powerful and very moving, and illustrated just how enormously positive AHP interventions are, especially in complex and difficult cases. We were all reluctant to leave this part of the event, and were beginning to run a little over time, so a shortened coffee break led neatly into the next two workshop discussions.
All agreed that the workshops were really productive and the room had a real positive buzz . Dr Culley commented later that AHPs are crucial in developing holistic care – a real vote of confidence in our professions!
The event concluded with an excellent lunch and a chance to chat informally; there was a general agreement that it had been hugely worthwhile morning. Although we live in a small community, the chance to meet and talk with people outside our own organisation doesn’t really come along that often and we’re really grateful to the Scottish Government for giving us the opportunity. Locally, we’ve got some excellent pointers to help inform our work and our integration agenda, and we await feedback from the Government and the further development of the AILIP.