Healthwatch Darlington Board member meets Healthwatch Isles of Scilly!
Healthwatch Darlington's Board member Gill Waite tells us about her visit to the Isles of Scilly.
On a recent visit to St Mary's island at the Isles of Scilly, I was surprised and delighted to see a Healthwatch sign above a shop.
It was only open four mornings a week so I called in the next time it was open. I was made very welcome by Ian and he was happy to share the issues he faces. He is one of two workers there but not for long as his colleague will be leaving in a few weeks. One of the problems of living on the islands is that the post will be very difficult to fill due to the local housing difficulties. Ian himself was there as his wife got a job on the island but it took three months to find suitable accommodation.
One of the biggest problems is emergency health care. There is a system in place for people to be taken to the mainland (and returned) in case of emergency. The problem being that it is transport to the hospital, people have to find their own way back to the airport once they have been treated. Sometimes this happens when people have no money, or phone or even day clothes......it was an emergency after all.
Public engagement can be difficult. There are 2,500 inhabitants so any confidential information could be quite easily related back to source. Having been involved in the NHS long term plan Ian was very pleased that they had held two focus groups and had 15 surveys returned. % wise a very good return.
Ian was working with a very supportive board but currently has no volunteers, a situation he is hoping to change very shortly. He will have many challenges up ahead, especially until the vacant job role is filled but I wish him all the best.