The fourth Annual Performance Report 2019/2020 for the Orkney Integration Joint Board has outlined significant highlights over the past year, while detailing key challenges and priorities moving forward.
Members of the IJB this week approved the document which will be submitted to the Scottish Government and provided to both Orkney Islands Council and NHS Orkney.
The IJB is responsible for all social work, social care and community health services in Orkney. These include Mental Health services, Primary Care services, Children’s Health services, Children’s and Young People’s Social Work and Criminal Justice Social Work.
IJB Chair Councillor Rachael King said: “We are the body responsible and accountable for the design, commissioning and oversight of the delivery of integrated community-based health and care services and unplanned hospital admissions through our statutory partners, Orkney Islands Council and NHS Orkney within the integrated service known locally as Orkney Health and Care.
“We undertake this in partnership with our Third Sector colleagues, people who use our services, their carers and the community as a whole.
“The breadth of this remit is to ensure that services in the community both seek to prevent the need for admission to hospital but also to facilitate early discharge from hospital so that people can remain with family and friends and importantly within their own communities and homes.
“Our homes are important to us all, but when our needs mean that we must leave that familiar place we want to know that wherever we are accessing services, the environment is as welcoming as it can be.
“The close of this year saw the COVID-19 pandemic reach our shores and whilst the full impact and implications of this global event are as yet unfolding, we must take assurance from the knowledge that we have a strong community which continues to demonstrate that its strength lies in its ability to work together.”
Highlights over the year were detailed as the new care facility in Stromness, Hamnavoe House, and the opening of the new Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall by NHS Orkney where many Orkney Health and Care services are delivered.
Orkney Health and Care’s Interim Chief Officer, Gillian Morrison, said: “The residents from the former St Peter’s House enjoyed moving into their new home, Hamnavoe House, which looks out over the sea in Stromness, yet is designed to remain an integral part of Stromness’s community.”
The report also highlights a number of key challenges and priority areas to be driven forward.
Ms Morrison said: “Our first priority in 2019/2020 has been developing and driving forward our Orkney Partnership Children’s and Young People’s Inspection Improvement Plan, which followed a challenging joint inspection report published in February 2020.
“Other priorities include developing community hubs; improving our mental health services; supporting our unpaid carers and improvements to primary care.
“The biggest challenge in 2019/2020 arrived towards the end of this period, with growing certainty that we were about to experience the Coronavirus pandemic, which had, and still has, the potential to significantly affect the lives of the most vulnerable people in Orkney.
“The staff within Orkney Health and Care, working alongside other Council and Health Board colleagues, and Third Sector organisations, have worked tirelessly to provide the best quality care, support and protection possible within the resources we have in these uncertain times.”