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Highland Council and NHS Highland Consultation For Community Care Services

28th March 2010

The Highland Council and NHS Highland are undertaking a consultation over the next few months on the joint plan for community care services.

The draft Joint Community Care Plan sets out the kind of services needed to deliver the best outcomes for older people and other vulnerable groups, including people with learning disability, sensory impairment, mental health and substance misuse problems and those who are homeless. This week's Housing & Social Work Committee considered and agreed a set of booklets that highlight the key issues, and that will be disseminated and discussed with the public in various settings.

Four sets of material have been prepared, covering services for:

* older adults in need;
* younger adults in need (16yrs to 64yrs);
* mental health and/or substance misuse; and
* all adults in need; common approaches.

The information will be distributed widely, including through service points, libraries, pharmacies and GP surgeries. Surveys will be available by requesting a consultation booklet on 01463 702807 or for those with access to the internet they can be completed online from Friday 26 March at www.fhcommunities.org.

It is envisaged that the consultation booklets will used for discussion in a range of settings. With the assistance of Highland Community Care Forum, Council and NHS Highland planners aim to engage with a range of "harder to reach groups," including representatives from minority ethnic groups across the Highland community, as well as with staff and other stakeholders.

The four booklets summarise the agency's plans for change; and allow service users, carers, the broader public and staff, to respond with their views. They set out:

* the outcomes we seek;
* what people who use services have told us; and
* our proposed approach to delivering improved services.

People are encouraged to consider and respond regarding:

are these outcomes the important ones?

are there other issues we should consider?

are these the improvements we need to make?

Welcoming the consultation, the Chair of Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee, Councillor Margaret Davidson said: "We have great aspirations for our community care services. We have prepared this draft plan on the basis of considerable work with staff, managers, services users and carers. It sets out what we believe are the key outcomes that we seek for service users and their carers, and the objectives for Highland Council and NHS Highland.

"It is important that the plan is understood and discussed in communities across the Highlands. We all have an interest in how we provide care and support for people who use community care services, and we all seek continuing improvement in those services. We want people who are vulnerable or at risk, to feel safe, and lead active and fulfilled lives. We want to support people to be healthy, living in their own homes, and being as full members of the local community as possible. This plan sets out how we intend to provide services that help achieve outcomes like this."

Garry Coutts, Chair of NHS Highland said: "We know that the public what to get the services they need when they need them and don't want to worry about whether it is a health service or a social care service. We agree with them. This plan is our attempt to make sure they get the service they have told us they need. We are very keen to hear if they agree we are on the right lines or not."