Karen McIntyre reflects on organising the first More than Medline event in Renfrewhire and the importance of working across sectors.
My sincere thanks to those who attended the More Than Medicine event on 4th September at Wellneuk in Paisley. Our collaborative lunch and learn event was created by The ALLIANCE, NHS GGC and Engage Renfrewshire with the aim of better linking local GP practices with the local voluntary sector. It was attended by representatives of local organisations, practice managers, nurses and other health care professionals, and the feedback has been very positive.
A lot of environmental change has taken place since I started with the voluntary sector in 2002, and I can see why collaborative working is more essential than ever. The public and voluntary sector continue to work with limited resources, tightening budgets and increased demand. Funding changes bring with it changes in people, services and availability. Organisations change and suddenly no one is sure who’s doing what any more.
The Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP)’s vision for Renfrewshire is “to be a caring place where people are treated as individuals and are supported to live well” and I think this is probably not dissimilar to the vision of many of Engage’s third sector members. By showcasing community groups and local charities at the More Than Medicine event, healthcare professionals could hear first hand what services are available, why they are beneficial and how make referrals. And for the voluntary sector it was a fairly exclusive opportunity to capture key colleagues within health who are rarely available because of the demands on their time.
Being able to talk to patients in a holistic way about their health and what may benefit them is exactly what The ALLIANCE’s Scotland’s House of Care Programme is aiming to achieve. By promoting voluntary sector services to the people with direct access to potential service users is beneficial to everyone; individual, NHS, and the third sector. Working together in this way will strengthen communities and tackle some of the current priorities including wellbeing, mental health, social isolation and loneliness.
One of Renfrewshire HSCP’s priorities is to reduce unscheduled care. In their recently published annual report for 2017/18 (this link will take you away from our website), figures show that they have achieved a reduced demand on acute services and reduced the number of alcohol related hospital stays.
Within the voluntary sector we know that many of our services promote prevention and early intervention. If we work even more closely with our public sector colleagues we can help people avoid crisis, we can promote faster and more sustainable recovery, and we can help people to increase their quality of life.
I am looking forward to the next More Than Medicine event and speaking to another Renfrewshire GP cluster about what voluntary sector services are available to their patients locally. And indeed to developing even more public and voluntary sector collaborative working.
Watch our video summary (this link will take you away from our website) of the event for a quick snapshot of how things went.
For ma more in depth understanding of the More Than Medicine format, the learning report from the event has been published.
To host a More Than Medicine event in your area please email email@example.com