Scottish Government gives green light to transformation of care for older people
Plans to create an innovative new care village for older people in Stirling have moved a step closer following the Scottish Government's approval for the project to be taken forward to the next stage.
The proposals, which have been developed as part of joint partnership between NHS Forth Valley and Stirling Council, would transform the way services are delivered to older people by bringing a wide range of health, social care, training and GP services together on the Stirling Community Hospital site.
We know that bringing health and social care services together on a single site could significantly reduce duplication, improve communication and make it far easier and quicker for older people to access the care and support they require
This would create a 'care hub' for older people, which would bring together existing care home and day care services currently provided by Stirling Council along with inpatient and specialist community health services provided by NHS Forth Valley. These include day hospital and rehabilitation services along with inpatient services for patients who require rehabilitation, palliative care or ongoing care. Forth Valley College is also involved in the project and will potentially offer a wide range of training, development and learning opportunities.
All three organisations have signed an initial agreement and will now work together to develop an outline business case. This will examine a number of different options for the way services and accommodation could be provided in more detail and assess each of these against a range of criteria to identify a preferred way forward. It will also create a masterplan for the Stirling Community Hospital site to show how services and facilities could be delivered there in the future.
A number of local GP practices are keen to be part of the potential new development. Forth Valley College is also interested in exploring the possibility of developing a new educational partnership. This could enable people who want a career in care to be trained within the care village and has the potential to provide a wide range of employment, training, placement and volunteering opportunities for local young people.
All health services currently available at Stirling Community Hospital would continue to be provided on the site and existing minor injuries, X-ray and GP out-of-hours services would be co-located in new purpose-built facilities as part of the wider proposed new development for GP practices.
The longer-term vision for the Care Village would also see the development of commercial, flexible and adaptable housing on the site which would be available to buy, rent or partly own.
Tom Steele, director of strategic property and projects for NHS Forth Valley, said: "We are delighted the project has been approved to proceed to the next stage of development. This will give us an opportunity to explore the different options in much more detail and identify the best way of delivering services to older people.
"We know that bringing health and social care services together on a single site could significantly reduce duplication, improve communication and make it far easier and quicker for older people to access the care and support they require. This new Care Village also has the potential to increase the number of older people who are able to live independently in their own homes and reduce the number of unplanned admissions to hospital."
Councillor Margaret Brisley, Stirling Council’s portfolio holder for social care, health and sport, added: "By working together in new ways on innovative ideas like the Care Village, Stirling Council and NHS Forth Valley are putting older people's needs right at the centre of decision-making. I am confident this approach can lead to a brighter future for older people and families across the Stirling area."
This new Care Village has the potential to increase the number of older people who are able to live independently in their own homes and reduce the number of unplanned admissions to hospital
And Linda McKay, principal of Forth Valley College, told BBH : "A new Care Village would provide a wide range of opportunities for vocational training and placements in purpose-built facilities which. It therefore has the potential to offer enhanced learning experiences and also significantly improve career prospects for our learners and local people working in the care sector."
The vision for a new Care Village not only addresses key local priorities to improve services for older people, but will also help meet national plans to improve the quality and consistency of care for older people though the delivery of integrated health and social care services which make better use of existing resources.
The outline business case, which will examine and assess the options for the Care Village in more detail, will be developed over the next nine months. It will then be submitted to the Scottish Government for consideration and, if approved, work will begin on the development of a full business case.