Councillor Agnew – Correspondence with Cabinet Secretary

By bellmannews / November 26, 2021

Councillor Wendy Agnew would like to share a copy of recent correspondence she has had with Humza Yousaf, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care,regarding the use of the Invercarron Resource Centre for vaccinations – which she feels,”raises matters of legitimate concern to members of the public directly affected.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care                                                                                          
The Scottish Parliament Edinburgh                                                                                                                                                                           EH99 1SP                                                                                                                              28th October 2021

Dear Sir,

As I understand matters –  “The Scottish General Medical Services (GMS), 2018”, is a joint agreement between the Scottish  Government and the British Medical Association (BMA) which sets out  “a new direction for general practice in Scotland which aims to:

  • Improve access for patients, address health inequalities and improve population health including mental health
  • Provide financial stability for GPs, and reduce GP workload through the expansion of the primary care multidisciplinary team
  • Redefines the role of the GP as an expert medical generalist focusing on complex care, reduce risks associated with becoming a GP partner and encourage new entrants to the profession as well as help retain existing GPs ”

“The memorandum of understanding between the Scottish Government, the BMA, Integration Authorities and NHS Board for new GMS contract was agreed in April 2018. The memorandum sets out the principles by which primary care redesign will be delivered. Crucial to this agreement is that services will only be transferred where it is sustainable for the local health care system and, most importantly, where it is safe, appropriate, and improves patient care. The development of primary care service redesign in the context of delivery of the new GMS contract should meet the following key principles:

  • Safe
  • Person-centred
  • Equitable
  • Outcome focused
  • Sustainable
  • Affordable

As a result of the new Contract, all integrated Authorities now have locally-agreed Primary Care improvement plans . ..”   (Policy – “Primary care services General practice”)                                                                           

See eg. –  “Health and Social Care Integration Scheme for Aberdeenshire” February 2018.

Against the above abbreviated background, it appears plain that the current issue of immediate concern, namely the siting of a local vaccination centre, and choice of site, at Stonehaven is NOT, in itself, a matter for the Scottish Government or Parliament; however, it has been stated by Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) that, inter alia,  “ By March 2022, the HSCP have a new statutory duty to take on several primary care services, including the vaccination programme, previously provided by GPs at their practices . . . An estimated 22,000 people will require vaccinations in the Kincardine and Mearns area. This situation is not going to change and a permanent site is required . . . Funding is only available to March [to] carry out refurbishments, so a permanent site requires to be in place by March 2022.” (Written information provided by Aberdeenshire HSCP).

                                                                                     2.

In my view this should be clarified because, taken literally, a functional permanent vaccination site requires to be in place by March 2022 or funding is lost. I am given to understand that the funding referred to is from the Scottish Government; standing this, there is a clear inference that any deadline imposed concerning award of funding relating to provision of said vaccination centre is set by the Scottish Government.

I will be grateful if you will answer the following questions – viz:

FIRST – The Aberdeenshire community of Stonehaven has recently been informed by their Health and Social Care Partnership that there is a statutory requirement to provide a permanent vaccination centre by March 2022 and that funding for required refurbishment is only available to March 2022. Given that  meeting all necessary infrastructure, other practical and clinical criteria is more difficult to achieve in the planning and more protracted in delivery in some areas than in others and having regard also to recent Covid-19 restrictions; (a) was the deadline set by the Scottish Government? (b) if so, when was the deadline intimated ?; and (c) is it necessary and fair to insist upon the same fixed deadline in all cases and if so how can the potential consequences of that meet with the six key principles (safe; person-centred; outcome focused; sustainable; and affordable) to be applied to the delivery of primary care redesign of the new General Medical Services contract 2018 ?      

SECOND –  Having regard to the “key principles” cited above, (a) Can it be justified that a nominated vaccination centre cannot be accessed by direct public transport services ? – (b) Is there a maximum number of miles that members of the public should have to travel to a vaccination centre and if so what is the maximum ?   

THIRD – What is the maximum amount of funding available for provision of an individual vaccination centre ?

FOURTH – Is there a specific list of care services that are to be removed from what are now to be described as “expert medical generalists focussing on complex care”, if so where can this be found by members of the public having a direct material interest ?

Yours faithfully                                                                                                          

Councillor Wendy Agnew                                                                                          Kinnear House Stonehaven & Lower Deeside – Ward 18                                                               33 Evan Street                Aberdeenshire Council                                                                                               Stonehaven  AB39 2ET