Public services probe brings MSPs to Kelso

MSPs investigating Scottish public services reform was in Kelso last week to look at a joint initiative run by Scottish Borders Council’s social work department and NHS Borders in conjunction with the voluntary sector.

The Cheviot project is an example of the region’s two largest public sector employers, with their staff, working in partnership, in this case to reduce bed blocking and to smooth the transition of patients from hospital back to their homes.

Holyrood’s seven-strong local government and regeneration committee, chaired by Dundee SNP MSP Joe Fitzpatrick, began work in December, focusing on community planning partnerships.

In Kelso, accompanied by Councillor Frances Renton, they visited the Grove House Intermediate Care Unit and met a number of older people using the service, which aims to improve their skills and confidence and ensure a safe and quick return home.

The MSPs heard that 35 people had used the service since in began in May last year, 28 of whom were now living at home.

The committee also visited Kelso Hospital, where social work day and client services recently co-located, and met voluntary organisations, including Alzheimer’s Scotland and the Red Cross, working together on an outreach model for people with dementia.