Health and social care changes explained

An invitation to Borders community councils to attend a £99 per head seminar about plans to integrate health and social care has been slammed by one community council chairman.

Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders are working on plans to intergrate social care and a number of health services - community health, adult social care, health visiting, community dental services, sexual health services, unscheduled care - and last week they forwarded an invitation to a half day seminar on the subject at Edinburgh legal firm Brodies, to community councils. The cost of the seminar is £99 + VAT (£89 + VAT for voluntary organisations).

Lammemmuir Community Council chairman, Mark Rowley, has already voiced concerns over the lack of public engagement about the process, which will start in April 2016.

A new health and social care intergration board will operate alongside NHS Borders board and the council, and the first stage of the consultation process, looking at how they will work together, is currently underway but little notice was given of meetings currently taking place across the region.

“Rather than promote hugely expensive £120 fees, for sessions lasting just three hours in the offices of one of Edinburgh’s swankiest legal firms, should SBC and NHS Borders not be putting all available resources into making the residents of the Scottish Borders more informed of the changes that are coming far, far more locally?” asked Mr Rowley.

“Our residents would be completely appalled if we paid and used community funds on this scale just to hear what NHS Borders and SBC should be out on the road telling every single community organisation across the Scottish Borders, without any charge.

“If information is needed, and it certainly is, it should be provided locally, within the Borders by NHS Borders and SBC.”