Vision for Stirling Care Village Unveiled

The vision for an innovative new care village, which could transform the way health and social care services are delivered to older people, was unveiled today.

The proposals, which could bring together a wide range of health, social care, training and GP services on the Stirling Community Hospital site, have been developed as part of joint partnership between NHS Forth Valley and Stirling Council.  Forth Valley College is also delighted to be involved with the proposals that could provide a wide range of training, development and learning opportunities for staff and a new emerging workforce.

All three organisations have signed an Initial Agreement, which outlines the range of options available and identifies a preferred way forward to meet the needs of older people.

This would see the creation of a ‘care hub’ for older people, which could bring together existing care home and day care services currently provided by Stirling Council along with inpatient and specialist community health services provided by NHS Forth Valley. These include day hospital and rehabilitation services along with inpatient services for patients who require rehabilitation, palliative care or ongoing care.

A number of local GP practices* are keen to be part of the potential new development. Forth Valley College is also interested in exploring the possibility of developing a new educational partnership.  This could enable people who want a career in care to be trained within the care village and has the potential to provide a wide range of employment, training, placement and volunteering opportunities for local young people.

All existing health services at Stirling Community Hospital would continue to be provided on the site. Existing Minor Injuries, X-ray and GP out-of-hours services would be co-located in new purpose-built facilities as part of the new development for GP practices.

The final vision for the Care Village is to develop commercial, flexible and adaptable housing on the site which would be available to buy, rent or partly own.

Stirling Council Leader and Portfolio Holder for Health & Social Care Councillor Graham Houston said:  “As Leader of the Council I feel proud to back this partnership initiative.  The public often ask us to show evidence of value for money and this creative initiative allows us all to meet the needs of older people while maximising the resources in a modern purpose built facility.

He adds: “Carers often stress about elderly relatives and recent documentaries highlighting poor care conditions in some care establishments only heighten these concerns.  We have a unique opportunity, to not only meet the Scottish Government’s aspirations, but to ensure that here in Stirling we respect older people by providing great care in a modern facility with a professional workforce.”

Tom Steele, Director of Strategic Property and Projects for NHS Forth Valley, said: “This is an exciting and ambitious plan which would revolutionise the way we deliver health and social care services for older people. Bringing these services together on a single site will reduce duplication, improve communication and make it far easier and quicker for older people to access the care and support they require.

“It also has the potential to increase the number of older people who are able to live independently in their own homes, reduce the number of unplanned admissions to hospital and reduce the number of delayed discharges from hospital.”

Linda McKay, Principal of Forth Valley College said: “We’re delighted to be a part of this exciting and innovative plan which will deliver vocational training in a community setting. We currently train young people in catering at the Raploch Community Campus and we are looking forward to maximising the opportunities the care village will offer.  It will provide a wide range of benefits for our learners through the potential for practical training in purpose-built facilities, employment prospects, placements and the achievement of social enterprise skills.  Our role will ensure that training and continuing workforce and professional development are at the heart of high quality service and long term sustainability for the Care Village.”

The vision for a new Care Village not only addresses key local priorities to improve services for older people but will also help meet national plans to integrate adult health and social care services. The Scottish Government recently announced moves aim to improve the quality and consistency of care for older people though the delivery of integrated health and social care services which make better use of existing resources.

The initial agreement was approved by Stirling Council at its meeting on 1 March, 2012 and will be submitted to the next meeting of the NHS Forth Valley Board on 27 March 2012. If approved, an Outline Business Care will be developed to examine and assess the options further and develop more detailed plans.

Estimated costs for the preferred model of service delivery are between £45 and £55m and, if the project goes ahead, construction could start in 2014 with the facilities becoming operational in 2016.

Stirling Council Assistant Chief Executive Janice Hewitt said:  “Over the past few years we have listened to older people who would want to live at home and not in care homes.  We have wanted to make this vision a reality.  We know some people will require extra help and we will deliver services sensitive to these needs.  Having NHS Forth Valley and the Forth Valley College as our partners will make such a difference to older peoples’ services in Stirling.”

For further information contact Fiona Fulton, Stirling Council on 01786 443361 or Elsbeth Campbell, NHS Forth Valley on 01786 457264.