New approach to Development of Health and Care Services across Falkirk

A series of projects will be aligned in a new long-term planning approach for health and care services across Falkirk and wider Forth Valley area.

A review of the way community-based services are delivered has already been conducted as part of a wider master planning exercise for the Falkirk Community Hospital site. This Strategic Assessment looked at the range of services currently provided, including ophthalmology, speech and language therapy, sexual health, dental services, psychology, audiology, podiatry, mental health support and inpatient facilities, as well as exploring future healthcare needs across the area.

In response to new national planning arrangements for healthcare projects recently introduced by the Scottish Government, the next phase of the master planning work for the Falkirk Community Hospital site will now form part of a wider plan being developed for the whole Forth Valley area.

Further guidance is awaited on the new ‘Whole System’ planning arrangements and how they may impact on the timescales for existing capital proposals. In the meantime, work to implement new models of care, services and support continue to be taken forward by the Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership.

This includes plans to develop Cunningham House in Grangemouth as a longer-term rehabilitation centre to provide access to physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other specialist services for people who require longer-term support before they return home. This work, which is part of a wider review of bedded care needs across the Falkirk area, is being taken forward on a phased basis and the first admission for rehabilitation support took place at the end of February 2023.

The development of a new ‘Living Well Hub’ concept, which would provide health and financial advice along with access to a range of social care, housing and mental health support, is also being explored.

Gail Woodcock, Head of Integration for the Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Staff working across NHS Forth Valley, Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, and Falkirk Council remain committed to designing and developing services and facilities which will meet the future needs of local communities.

“A great deal of preparation work has already been carried out with local staff, partners and community representatives as part of the Falkirk Community Hospital masterplan process. We really appreciate the contribution of everyone involved so far and will ensure this feedback is reflected in the Whole System Plan being developed for the Forth Valley area. This new Plan will also incorporate proposals to develop GP premises across the Falkirk area as part of a wider Primary Care Improvement Programme.”

In addition to the Falkirk Community Hospital project, Falkirk Council recently re-affirmed its commitment to developing a new intermediate care facility in the area.

Discussion at this month’s Council budget meeting acknowledged that £3.7m previously earmarked for such a facility was unlikely to be sufficient. Councillors recommended that officers work closely with Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership to develop a new proposal and business case which will allow new funding to be allocated at a later date.