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We have been approached over some time with concerns about the dementia ward in our hospital. Rumours of closure have been around.
It has affected staff as well as the community, and it can’t be a coincidence that dedicated, highly-trained people have been leaving at the rate of about four a year.
You would have expected such losses to activate a staff retention policy, given the difficulty we are told about in attracting and retaining health specialists.
There is still anger in the community that the replacement once envisaged for Argyll and Bute Hospital did not happen. Ideologies change, money has to be redistributed, but surely the public deserves to hear the thinking which contributes to the discussion? No amount of box ticking or fancy public relations substitutes for the lived experience. Just talk to the people learning about the onset of dementia. Better still, listen to their fears for the future.
Word has come out that forums have been abolished as part of the structure of the Health and Social Care Partnership because staff felt exposed, perhaps even threatened.
One would expect any threatening behaviour would have been appropriately dealt with. We know staff on the ground in Mid Argyll asked that representatives could continue to come because they found the interaction valuable. The response was that we no longer existed.
In our forum, information was given which proved to be wrong and material presented with inadequate briefing. This must have been an unpleasant feeling and could well have led to a feeling of exposure for junior staff involved.
These are management issues and it is in the interests of public information that they are addressed. Getting rid of forums is rather in the nature of shooting the messenger. We are needed more than ever.
To contact Mid Argyll Health and Care Forum, email the forum chairperson Barabel McKay at firstname.lastname@example.org