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Health / New strategy sets out health and care priorities for next decade

A NEW strategy which maps out how health and care services will be shaped in Shetland over the next decade has been drawn up.

One key aim of the clinical and care strategy is the integration of services around the needs of local communities, and making the best use of technology.

It also is described as the first phase of the capital planning process to assess the future of the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

The clinical and care models will be used to build a “case for change” around a new hospital building.

The strategy highlights that there are “limitations in our scope to adapt the hospital site further, to keep pace with the changing clinical models of care over the next 5-10 years and beyond”.

The draft strategy was noted at a meeting of Shetland’s health and care partnership on Thursday.

It was developed through a series of engagement events and discussions with staff and the wider community.

It also embeds information taken from feedback and complaints – as well as learning from the Covid-19 pandemic.

NHS board member Jane Haswell, who led a programme board for the strategy’s development, wished to thank the Shetland community for getting involved.

“It really was a remarkable engagement,” she said.

More than 200 people completed a survey, while feedback was received from young people who organised group discussions.

Some of the key feedback from the community included a desire to see:

  • Improved and easier access to services
  • More support to maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • More support to be independent and stay in their own homes
  • Better continuity in services (and between services) e.g. between GP and hospital or hospital and specialist services

Young people also expressed a desire to be “supported to thrive” – for example access to recreational facilities, support with mental health and wellbeing, access the culture of Shetland (music, social events) and a career.

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The strategy has picked working more closely with the community, and placing more emphasis and resources on prevention, as two key areas of focus in the months and years ahead.

Other themes include prioritising joined-up working, using technology where appropriate and recognising the need to “develop new roles and models for training to support our generalist workforce”.

The clinical and care strategy also sits within a wider programme of strategic planning.

But integration joint board chair Emma Macdonald told Thursday’s meeting that is vital that various strategies and plans work together.

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