New beginnings for health and social care?

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A column by Mid Argyll Health and Care Forum – an independent voice linking health and social care users and providers

January keeps alive the memory of the Roman God Janus. Having two heads, he could look forward and backward at the same time.

About this time last year, the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) withdrew our administrative support, following quickly afterwards with the news that a better way of communicating with the public was going to be a revival of communication cafes. We are not aware we have yet had one in Mid Argyll.

Glooming about the past has never seemed particularly profitable. Why not use the facility of two heads to paint two alternatives for the future?

We have a partnership struggling with financial pressures and the mismatch between supply and demand. Our GP practice explained the problem to us some time ago from their perspective. Some of us like the changes they have initiated, some do not – but at least we are clear about what is going on and can comment with a knowledge of the background.

In the case of the partnership that is not so at present. It is not unreasonable to say local services are being withdrawn by stealth. You may find they are being replaced in a different way by different providers and with even more precarious financial underpinning. Perhaps you never find these alternatives because they are accessed in a different way and you may not hear about them. They are time limited and if not renewed will just disappear, leaving a folk memory of what we once had. Think about our dementia services.

We could get the two headed god to swivel his head in a new direction. He is supposed to be the god of new beginnings.

Given the right kind of information and treated with respect, the public could assist in finding innovative, effective ways of planning the future. Find out what help needs to be provided by professionals, what comes under personal responsibility and what can, and already is in some cases, provided by the community. There is evidence all around us of what people can achieve when they are acting on behalf of loved ones. We hear it in the forum.

‘The other side of a difficulty is an opportunity’ so in this new decade, can we find new ways of going on in the best way possible?

To contact Mid Argyll Health and Care Forum, email forum chairperson Barabel McKay at