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FOLLOWING one of the most comprehensive Community Engagement processes ever undertaken for health and Social Care, the Western Trust Pathfinder process has now commenced the next phase of reform in the region as a period of action gets under way. The latest large-scale engagement event by the Western Trust Pathfinder team was delivered in Enniskillen recently with a regional Health Summit in the Ardhowen Theatre. This provided an opportunity to present all the latest information on the project to a wide range of stakeholders to be involved as the project strives to enable everyone “to work together to deliver better services in Fermanagh and West Tyrone”.
Over 180 attendees were presented with information on the engagement journey which included 17 pre-engagement events and 62 engagement sessions at community venues throughout the region with very intimate, honest and frank discussions with over 2,200 people. There were a host of key headlines emerging from that engagement journey and these included: gaps in fundamental services particular Domiciliary Care, some communities are more community orientated and resilient than others, there are growing workforce challenges in key staff groups, the Western Trust needs to build a model that moves a system centred around hospitals to a system focused on community strengths, Hospital and Community services are fragmented and not well connected and a need to refine ‘Pathways’ to achieve a greater synergy of services.
This community and staff engagement also highlighted the fact that services are currently struggling to meet need and the importance of ensuring greater cohesion between Health and other Agencies – particularly with Road Services, Rural Transport, Broadband and Education. A major aspect manifesting from all the discussions from the community was levels of concern around the resilience of Primary Care services while the importance of building links with the Education sector through Post Primary Schools, 2nd Level Colleges, Universities, Learning Communities and going back to the basic promotional element of delivering important positive messages to our younger people in Primary schools. The latter element of the Pathfinder project will get underway from May with the creation of ‘Health Champions Teams’ in Primary Schools and linking in with the new Western Trust “Hidden Heroes” campaign to highlight the importance and significance of a career in Health and Social Care.
Deputy Chief Executive of the Western Trust, Kieran Downey, impressed upon the influential audience at the Summit that the engagement journey was challenging and humbling but also inspirational in respect of future planning and this complete engagement process would become the cornerstone of how the Western Trust would then plan to create the necessary change. “It is now time to turn the TALK into ACTION. In the first phase, through incorporating the vitally important involvement ethos, we had wide ranging and highly engaging discussions all across the Pathfinder region and beyond. While the talking and engagement will always continue, we are now entering the second phase of action and co-production will be very much to the fore again in our planning as we have appointed service users to help influence this next phase.”
In talking about the importance of community links, Kieran commented “In our communities we heard of the impact of poverty and rural isolation and the impact loneliness has on our citizens. Pathfinder West will turn its immediate attention to support ‘Connecting Communities’ as a concept; to build solid connections that will ensure we maximise all of the resources available to generate an underpinning ethos of compassionate care for each other.” The Pathfinder Governance structure was presented and is now public on the Trust’s online hub (www.westerntrust. hscni.net/pathfinder) and this will be utilised now to bring together all the key stakeholders who can help influence, develop and implement the changes needed.
The next stage of the Pathfinder project is underway as the Western Trust will work closely with Service Users, Western Trust staff, the various influential stakeholders, agency partners and, through the work-stream groups, will develop a strategy which will strive to create improved Health and Social Services for all of Fermanagh and West Tyrone.
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