Health chief praises carers for support during pandemic

Argyll and Bute HSCP chief officer, Joanna MacDonald
Argyll and Bute HSCP chief officer, Joanna MacDonald

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By Andrew Galloway, Local Democracy Reporter

Local care groups have been thanked for the support they have shown to front line carers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Joanna MacDonald, chief officer with Argyll and Bute’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), praised them in a report to be considered by its integration joint board (IJB) at a meeting via Skype tomorrow, Wednesday August 5.

She said: ‘We would like to thank all of the staff at North Argyll Carer Centre, the Dochas Carers Centres, the Helensburgh and Lomond Carers Centre, Crossroads (Cowal and Bute), Crossroads North Argyll, and Mid Argyll Youth Development Service for everything they have been doing to support carers and local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘They deliver a fantastic range of services, including providing advice, guidance and support to carers on a daily basis and over the last few months, with the Covid-19 pandemic, have been absolutely outstanding in the service they have continued to provide remotely for carers.

‘We are so lucky to have such a strong carers network in Argyll and Bute and to have such committed people who provide real positive carer support for the local communities that they serve.’

The report also provided details of how video consulting has enabled services to continue in recent months.

People in Argyll and Bute were asked for their views on how health and care services could be delivered remotely in the future.

Ms MacDonald added: ‘This was carried out as part of an engagement exercise by the national ‘Near Me’ team to find out what people think about how the system might be improved.

‘When Covid-19 commenced the HSCP quickly progressed the use of Near Me in 29 GP practices and has also used it for obstetric appointments between Lorn and Islands hospital in Oban and Paisley.

‘The use of Near Me video consulting is also proving to be vital for those who deliver and receive health and social care during the pandemic.

‘It has enabled services to continue to be provided without potential exposure to Covid-19 and has significantly reduced the number of people coming into health and social care premises.’