Voluntary Health Scotland Associate Member and Learning to Lead in Health participant John Gill gives his overview of an important new framework: See Hear: A Strategic Framework for meeting the needs of people with a sensory impairment in Scotland was launched by the Scottish Government on 24th April 2014.
The framework applies to children and adults who have hearing, vision or dual hearing and vision loss, and follows a consultation exercise in 2013. There are seven recommendations set out in the concise document.
The strategy is set in a challenging financial challenging financial context, against increasing demand, lack of awareness and competing priorities and constraints.
The framework will be implemented through local partnerships, with identified Leads, nominated in February 2014 with total funding of £2m to support the implementation until 2014/15.
The leads (from either local authorities, NHS or third sector agencies) are key to the involvement of local partners, the identification of local priorities and outcomes (with reference to the Strategy) and the development of work streams, timescales and de-livery plans for the various Strategy recommendations and areas for action.
He/she will also provide an important link to Government policy officials and local partnership peers to enable guidance and good practice to be shared and central support to be requested.
Prevalence and projections highlight that sensory needs are increasingly relevant across health, social care and education; in the statutory, third and independent sectors. It relates to all ages, patient and client groups; adults and children’s services and a raft of national and local policies, themes and strategies; e.g. Allied Health Professionals Framework, The Keys to Life, autism, The Doran Review, The Children and Young People’s Act, The Equalities Act, and the Dementia Strategy. There are also sensory specific policies and strategies (Scottish Vision strategies, Audiology Standards, BSL Bill).
The framework is relevant to current themes around adult services performance frameworks and Reshaping Older People’s Services, e.g. healthier living, safer ser-vices, early diagnosis and intervention, prevention, independent living, self-management, positive outcomes (dignity and inclusion) and effective use of re-sources.
The framework has comprehensive annexes of some of the processes and organisations and helps highlight the scale of the challenge ahead.
Growing incidence and significance, particularly in relation to age also highlights that sensory needs have become a mainstream event. This is important in assessment and practice. However, lack of sensory awareness in health and social care training will need to be addressed in the current and future workforce. There are also issues for the specialist workforce.
Sensory needs are wider than the traditional third sector sensory specific organisations with implications across the voluntary health and social care sector.
Voluntary Health Scotland will follow this framework with interest.
John Gill has nearly 40 years’ experience in community sensory services across Scotland’s statutory and voluntary sectors, at both local and national levels. He is a registered BSL interpreter and registered Social Worker. Previous posts include working for Highland Council and Sight Action, and he has been involved in developing standards in Social Work with Deaf people as member of a Multi-Agency Task Force.