The Dignity Agenda: Redesigning Orkney Social Care

A series of workshops on Wednesday and today (Thursday) are involving people in taking forward ideas in redesigning how Orkney responds to social care.

The workshops held in the Pickaquoy Centre, Kirkwall brought together health professionals and members of the public tasked with creating 2 pilot schemes for community ‘hubs’.

Building upon work already covered in the taster sessions in May and previous workshops, these sessions looked at identifying where a community ‘hub’ could go.

Community Led Support advice panel

Developing Orkney’s Social Care: ‘Start Small, Think Big’

Brian Frisby, Community Led Support, facilitated the discussions where groups worked through their responses to a series of questions :

  • What should people experience when they contact Orkney Health and Care (OHAC)?
  • What is working well in Orkney and what is not?
  • What do we do now that we need to keep doing?
  • What are we doing now that we want to ‘tweak’?
  • What are we doing now that we want to stop doing?

Orkney is the 25th place in the UK to use this approach towards redesigning social care  with Shetland to also come on board soon. What has emerged from all the conversations in participating areas is that the first point of contact is crucial. The importance of that initial individual conversation will be explored further in future workshops in November, on the power of constructive listening.

A community ‘hub’ is a place where people could go to find information or advice about how they can be supported. Information and advice in one place, locally, where people could make an informed choice about what would suit them. The ‘hub’ would not only house an information service but other activities would take place there so that it would be a place people would naturally drop by. 

The community on Sanday has already been looking at many of these issues and has a Wellbeing Officer. Care for Sanday, a group of residents on the island, is keen to establish a very sheltered housing facility which would allow people to remain on the island and still live independently.

Having done much preparatory work already, Sanday would be the ideal choice for a pilot community ‘hub’.

There is also the possibility of setting up a second pilot ‘hub’ and several suggestions were made at the workshop – the Pickaquoy Centre, Dounby and St Margaret’s Hope.

The essential element in creating an innovative hub for social care is that it should be run by the local community for the local community – one size does not fit all. The idea is that the meeting place would be run by residents, not by OHAC.

Some of the preferred features:

  • Accessible
  • Have good IT
  • Contain other facilities
  • Tea/Coffee/refreshments available
  • Private space for individual conversations

This is ongoing work and the pilot  ‘hubs’ are where communities can learn what works for them and what does not.

It was disappointing that the workshops were mainly composed of health and social care professionals. Their input of course is invaluable but it needs to be balanced out with what people in communities are actually wanting for where they live.

This is a marvellous opportunity for communities to develop what works for them and it will be interesting to see how Sanday develops its facilities if it opts for a community ‘hub’. Community Led Support

Reporter: Fiona Grahame 

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