MORE than 40 people discussed the future of health and social care in Forres at an open-evening event.
The Moray Integration Joint Board (MIJB) and Health and Social Care Moray held the second midweek community conversation as part of efforts to involve local residents in shaping local services.
Most of the attendees returned following June’s meeting, also at Forres Academy.
Also in attendance were chief officer Pam Gowans, MIJB chairwoman Christine Lester, local councillor Claire Feaver who is also a board member, and Forres resident, Ivan Augustus - the unpaid carer representative on the board.
Forres Community Council (FCC) chairman, Graham Hilditch was also there.
He said: “These meetings are informative and beneficial to the town. They are making progress.”
His FCC colleague, Graham Murdoch, added: “It is clear there has to be drastic change to cope with demand on local services. The authorities are keen to hear the public’s opinion.”
Mrs Gowans explained planning and working together is essential in modernising care, and committing the right resources to the right services which help people keep well and live as independently as possible.
She said: “The first meeting covered a lot of ground and gave people a sense of the challenges being faced, particularly around Leanchoil Hospital.
“One of the key local concerns was around mental health and wellbeing and that will be addressed as a specific topic at a future event.”
Mrs Gowans gave a presentation on the Forres neighbourhood community nursing model which supports patients at home and in augmented care units at Varis Court.
Health and Social Care Moray service manager, Anne McKenzie, gave a presentation on Leanchoil.
Discussions followed on the opportunities and challenges presented by the new model and what needs to be taken into account in terms of the future of the hospital building, continued use as a community hospital, alternative provision of improved care in the community and the future use of the building/site including a community asset transfer (CAT).
“We will now work on developing responses to the issues highlighted for the next meeting,” said Mrs Gowans. “The date of which has still to be set.”