Tuesday, 24 June 2014

LibDem councillor welcomes ‘Hospital at Home’ to North East Fife

The extension of the ‘Hospital at Home’ service to NE Fife has been welcomed by a Liberal Democrat councillor.

Group Leader Cllr Tim Brett, a former member of NHS Fife Health Board, has warmly approved the progress of the scheme, saying ‘According to the evidence, the outcomes of the Hospital at Home service are positive and is appreciated and valued by both patients and their families.’

He observed, that at this stage patients being discharged from Ninewells or Perth Royal infirmary are unable to access the early supported discharge element of the service, though it is hoped that the obstacles to this will be resolved in the next few months. ‘However,’ he went on, ‘I am conscious of the pressures on senior medical staff in delivering this new service, and that adequate staffing is required before it can be further developed.’

NOTE :   Details from NHS Fife :

 Information on ICASS, and H@H.

Thanks for your email on the ICASS services in NE Fife. The information below covers the general integrated community assessment and support service, and the more recent extension of this team to incorporate  hospital @ home. As a new development in care H@H is led by consultant geriatricians, and deployed as a virtual team across NHS Fife, irrespective of the CHP boundaries.

All of the ICASS services (including the integrated community teams, hospital inpatient care, and H@H) are accessed in GNEF through the Single Point of Access which coordinates referrals for assessment and care from hospital practitioners and all GP practices. Information on various options in care are discussed and agreed on an individual basis with the patients GP or hospital practitioner. We have an information leaflet available, but this is normally utilised as part of a consultation.

 Activity Information:

 ·         On average we receive 700 referrals a month through SPOA for the community teams assessment service, referrals are assessed accordingly by the ICASS team and a treatment plan is established in line with the individuals needs.

 ·         For H@H specifically – we have received 223 admissions in GNEF to date. The service has been operational in GNEF for 42 weeks, although the beginning of this period would have been subject to a series of tests and phased roll out. As a Fifewide service from implementation to May 2014 there have been over 1,500 admissions and discharges to the service with average length of input at 8.9 days.  

 ·         ICASS is available to all GP practices in GNEF. Hospital at Home in GNEF has rolled out to all GP practices for Early Supported Discharge from VHK. 

The roll out to General Practice teams for  Prevention of Admissions is nearing completion, with Newburgh and Newport scheduled shortly. The availability of medical capacity is pivotal to the safe conclusion of the roll out, and there have been challenges in this respect. We are now however in the position to be taking the first ‘test cases’ from Newport, which will be agreed over the next few weeks with the Consultant and GPs concerned.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Tim's Update to the June 2014 meeting of Newport, Wormit and Forgan Community Council

1. New Madras College – The Scottish Government decided they would not call in the decision to review the planning approval for the new Madras College in a letter that was sent on 14 May.  It is now proposed that a detailed planning application will come to the September meeting of the North East Fife Planning Committee.

Fife Council however, has been advised that a new company – St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Limited are going to petition for a judicial review regarding the pipeland planning application.  At this stage we do not know under what grounds the judicial review is being lodged but I have been advised that a full report on this will be coming to the Council’s Executive Committee meeting on 17 June.

2. Parking at Newport Primary School – Stuart Goodfellow from Transportation has advised me that he has had a discussion with Marta Ramage regarding the issue of parking at Newport Primary School.  Marta is a Travel Plan Co-ordinator with the Council and works closely with schools on issues such as this.  It has been proposed that Marta will work closely with the school on reviewing the school’s travel plan as the best way forward of addressing the concerns that have been raised.

3. Newport & Wormit in Bloom – I am not sure whether the cabinet at the bottom of  Flass Road has been moved.
I have also received details of the group’s action plans for 2014.

4. A92 Accident Figures – I have obtained further road casualty figures for the above road from the New Inn Roundabout to the Tay Road Bridge.  This shows that there has been a reduction in casualty figures in the last five years.

5. Police Community Engagement Meeting – the next meeting will be on Monday 7 July at 7.00pm in the Blyth Hall.

6. Public Transport, Forgan Arts Centre – Derek Beveridge from transportation has informed me that Moffat & Williamson will offer the “Go Flexi” service to the Arts Centre from August when the new bus contracts are introduced.  Go Flexi operates like a taxi but with bus fares.

7. New Director of Health & Social Care – will be Mr Sandy Riddell from Moray who will take up post in September 2014.

8. Traffic Calming, High Street, Newport – Stuart Goodfellow from Transportation has advised me that, following representations to Transportation, they are assessing a proposal for the Area Transportation Work Programme for a flat top hump at the foot of the High Street on the approach to the roundabout.

9. Community Emergency Plan – an initial meeting to discuss the preparation of a community emergency plan for Newport & Wormit was held on 3 June.

10. Newport & Zolotareveo Twinning Association – I attended the AGM of the Association on 19 May.
11. Waterstone Crook Community Sports Hub – a further meeting was held on 26 May.  I can provide details.  The next meeting will be on 1 September 2014.

Arising from this there will be a community sports event at Waterstone Crook on Saturday 16 August.

12. Japanese Knotweed – I have received details of the Management Action Plan for the Japanese Knotweed that was found on the nature trail near Kirk Road.

13. Newport Fountain and War Memorial – David Weir, Service Manager from Property Services has advised me that the fountain has been cleaned and sealed.

Following a request from the Secretary of the Community Council, he is investigating what needs to be done to clean the War Memorial as parts of the War Memorial are quite marked from algae.  I hope to have further information on this at the next meeting.

14. Newport Playgroup – the Chair of the Playgroup has advised me that they do not believe it is economic for the Playgroup to continue in the autumn term as there are only three or four children returning in August and then only for two or three days per week.

They are, however looking at the possibility of providing the playgroup for child care for two year olds. They are looking at longer opening hours (8.45am to 1.15pm) and to offer a lunch club with transport up to Newport Nursery for children attending the afternoon session.  The Playgroup are consulting on these proposals and I should hear within the next few weeks as to whether there is interest in this.

15. Commonwealth Games Torch – will be leaving Tayport Harbour for Broughty Ferry on 27 June at 8.00am.

16. New Tay Road Bridge Manager – is Alan Hutchison who has now taken up post.  The Chair, Cllr Taylor and I met Mr Hutchison on 21 May to discuss traffic issues when the bridge is closed.

Monday, 9 June 2014

LibDem councillors welcome update on the North East Fire Service

Cllrs Donald Lothian and Tim Brett at Newburgh Fire Station
Cllr Tim Brett, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Fife Council, has recently had a meeting with Iain Vincent, Lead Officer for the National Fire Service in Fife. This followed national concerns that had been raised by the Fire Brigades Union about the position of retained duty fire stations. 

Cllr Brett explained that all the NE Fife fire stations are manned on the Retained Duty basis. The stations in Cupar and St Andrews each have two appliances while those in Anstruther, Auchtermuchty, Newburgh, St Monans and Tayport each have one.   The Retained Officers relied on being able to fulfil their Fire Fighting duties by their substantive employer allowing them time to do so. This could be particularly challenging between the hours of 8.00am to 5.00pm. 

According to Iain Vincent, Local Senior Officer – Fife, this is a problem that the fire service in Scotland is seeking to address. 

Cllr Brett said that the fact that some Retained Officers cannot always be clear on their availability was of concern.   He said, ‘I was however reassured by the information that Iain Vincent provided, as the situation is not getting any worse and the fire service are looking at innovative ways of trying to encourage the recruitment of more retained fire fighters and to improve on their availability.’

Cllr Margaret Kennedy, LibDem Spokesperson on Community Safety, added, ‘The Retained Service provides the backbone to our Fire Service amongst many communities and as such should hold a prominent position in terms of future service delivery of Fire and Rescue Scotland.  I would value more clarity from the Fire and Rescue Authority as to how it intends to protect and sustain this vital service for the future. Locally it is clear to me how our Lead Officer and the FBU Reps value them, having discussed this subject with them on various occasions. It was particularly pleasing to note, however, that the station at Newburgh was the second best, in terms of availability, of any of the retained stations in Scotland.’

The retained fire fighters are also assisted by thirty regular fire fighters who take part in the retained service. Iain Vincent concluded the discussions with Cllr Brett by saying that this issue was being looked at nationally by the new National Fire Service and that he himself was a member of one of the groups involved with this.

Cllr Brett concluded it was good to have the opportunity of meeting Iain to discuss this as all of the communities in North East Fife rely on the dedication of their retained fire fighters.  He concluded, ‘Whilst it is possible that the retained service can be backed up by the full time stations, either from other parts of Fife or from Dundee or Perth, it is good to know that every effort is made to try and ensure that the Retained Officers are available for as many hours a week as possible.’

‘Worrying delay in new Guardbridge housing,’ say LibDems

Cllr Tim Brett, Councillor for the Tay Bridgehead Ward, has expressed his deep concern at the delay in the building of new affordable housing in Guardbridge.

Cllr Brett said, ‘I understand that Kingdom Housing Association and their contractor Campion Homes are struggling to obtain proposals from Scottish Water on the provision of a required infrastructure upgrade which will enable the provision of a water supply to the proposed affordable homes on Toll Road in Guardbridge. This is very frustrating as this development has received strong support from the local community. There is an urgent need for more affordable housing in the St Andrews Housing Market Area and I know that there are many people on the housing waiting list who would like to be considered for these new homes.’

Cllr Brett went on to state his belief that Kingdom had been in discussions with Scottish Water for quite some time on how the infrastructure upgrade might be delivered but that the housing association has been unable to get final proposals from Scottish Water. ‘I have also been told that Scottish Water is looking to Kingdom to meet the cost of the infrastructure upgrade even though the infrastructure will then benefit other developments in the Guardbridge/Leuchars area.’

He concluded, ‘Given the pressing need for affordable housing, it is unfortunate, to say the least, that these difficulties have not yet been sorted out by Scottish Water. I very much hope that Scottish Water will be able to deliver the infrastructure proposals to meet the requirements of Kingdom in the very near future, allowing them to get on site. The development at Toll Road will provide 66 affordable properties, 56 of which will be for social rent.’