The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon paid a visit to the Wester Hailes Healthy Living Centre today to see an example of GPs working alongside social workers and the third sector and the impact of the Headroom initiative, which has seen local GPs working more closely with social work and third sector organisations.
Ms Sturgeon met with some of the local GPs before being given a tour of the building by Dr Peter Cairns the clinical lead at Wester Hailes Medical Practice. The First Minister then visited the Health Agency where she met members and organisers of the groups there and paid a visit to the Health Agency’s garden.
The First Minister was keen to find out more about how local healthcare providers work closely with the local community and third sector organisations to tackle the causes of health inequality – such as substance abuse, mental health issues, employability and social isolation.
There are 16 practices involved in the Headroom initiative covering around 100,000. In Wester Hailes it has played an important role by involving the local GP practice in the Living Well Wester Hailes project. The project has seen local third sector organisations, the Council and groups like Police Scotland working with the community to highlight the areas important to Wester Hailes. It was through this project that the Open Space event took place.
Speaking of the role Headroom could play on primary care the First Minister said:
People deserve the very best treatment at the right time and in the right place – and that’s as close to home as possible.
We have already taken steps to integrate health and social care and now transforming our GP services and local health centres is the next step. That means you will see the professional who can best help you and, in some cases, your local GP will soon offer the type of treatments that previously only hospitals could deliver.
I can confirm that ten test sites will run over the next two years so we can see the most effective way to introduce these new ways of delivering community based healthcare across Scotland.
Nobody wants to go into hospital if they don’t have to and with these new plans, people will see a better service and be able to be treated in the local community.
This is good for patients and good for the NHS – GPs in particular will see their role develop in a significant way.
Have a look below to see our photos of the visit: