National clinical director praises House of Care during isles visit

A health centre has been praised for its person-centred approach during a visit by national clinical director Jason Leitch.

Prof Leitch visited the Scalloway practice to learn about the House of Care model.

The Prof met staff at the health centre where the initiative is being introduced.

House of Care is based on a national model aimed at supporting patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure.

The new approach has been designed to invite patients to an appointment with a healthcare worker.

Information is assimilated into a patient-friendly letter with an easy to understand assessment of their condition ahead of a follow-up appointment.

The initiative is designed to give patients at the chance to absorb and digest the information they receive.

Prof Leitch said he was delighted to visit the isles, which also included a visit to the health centre in Walls, as well as the nearby Wastview care home.

“This practice is beginning to roll out a fairly innovative way of doing health care, particularly for what we call long term conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure,” he said.

“It reaches out to patients and families and – in partnership with those patients and families – provides the appropriate care or support, as opposed to the old model, which is ‘wait for deterioration, turn up sick, get repaired and get sent home.’

“It’s trying to catch deterioration long before it happens. It’s about prevention, but crucially it’s about doing that in partnership with the person because when you come in sick, you need a doctor, you need a nurse and off you go.”

But he said being “involved in that conversation” with health professionals could be more beneficial.

He added: “It doesn’t mean we won’t have a GP available, but if you’ve got a mental health problem, actually the GP might not be the most important person to you. What you might need is a community support worker, or actually what you might need is a walking group, or a book group.

“If you’ve got a more rounded approach to health and care, you’ll get better care.”

Prof Leitch has become a well-known face across the country since the beginning of the pandemic, with regular advice offered through TV screens.

He said Scotland was on the “downward slope of a third wave”.

But the main concern now is the prospect of a harsh winter and rising Covid cases as health professionals battle through a backlog of work.

Prof Leitch said the isles had done well in combating the virus.

“I think the population of Shetland now understand much more about the virus than any of us did 18 months ago.”


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