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Note of sensory impairment steering group held on 14 february 2006 in dunedin house, 25 ravelston terrace, edinburgh eh4 3tp present

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Michael Anderson Service user

Ann Brown Royal National Institute for the Deaf

Mike Cairns Scottish Executive

Maria Dick Falkirk Council

John Gill Highland Council

Phyllis Herriot Scottish Pensioners Forum

Wendy Jack West Dunbartonshire Council

Stephen Joyce Service user/ trainer

Jane Horsburgh Guide Dogs for the Blind

Jean Maclellan Scottish Executive – Chair

Bernadette Marr South Ayrshire Council

Wilma McCabe Service user

Bryn Merchant Royal National Institute for the Blind

Jeannie Munroe Scottish Executive

Drena O’Malley Deafblind Scotland

Marion Thompson Scottish Executive

Stephen Wilson Service user

John Whitfield Service user

1. Welcome and apologies
Introductions were made and Jean read out a letter informing the group that Drena O’Malley has resigned as Chief Executive of Deafblind Scotland and taken up the post of Resource Manager. Jean thanked her for her contribution to the group in the past and clarified that Drena will continue to attend and work with the steering group.
Apologies were received from Lilian Lawson, Gill Morbey, Liz Scott Gibson and Dennis Robertson.
2. Note of last meeting
Jean worked through the note of the last meeting and comments were made on the subjects as they arose.
3. Matters arising
i. The Research Report

The ministerial submission is presently with our team to prepare background information and will be submitted to the Minister shortly. Once agreed by the Minister the publication process will begin.

ii. Guidance subgroup

Jeannie explained that the work of drafting the guidance was wider than had originally been thought as we need to take account of that already issued and link in with it. The point was made that the guidance should reinforce and take account of other guidance but we do still need to draft new guidance. As there is not a large area of overlap with the three areas it should be simple to achieve.

It was explained that we have struggled to get a consistent core group at the meetings but there has been tangible progress. Drena produced a paper some time ago which could be used as a base for the work.

The group was informed that a meeting would take place in relation to the guidance with COSLA this week to ensure that it would be ratified by them.

Action Point

John Gill requested that a copy of Drena’s paper be circulated again to the group.

iii Training subgroup

A formal proposal has been put to CACDP to adapt their current training pack to widen it to social care staff and include visual impairment and dual sensory loss. We are expecting an agreement later today. A SCOTSVIP member has been identified to collate the core ideas which need to be included in the pack for the visually impaired. We will set another date for the subgroup to meet when the contract is in place as we may lose this money if it is not put in place quickly.

iv Service standards

There was a recognition that we need to look at NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, National Care Standards, the 21st Century Review of Social Work and e-care when writing the standards for each group. Mike felt that the reference in the last note of meeting to his work on standards had overstated the case. He would share his work when it was completed but he was not competent to address the other areas and it was for others to prepare their own standards.

4. Eye Care review – Mike Cairns
Mike reported that there are various strands to the review and one part is about changes to optometry. They have made great progress and a new contract is in place for them to carry out a more detailed eye examination. All High Street optometrists have signed up for 1 April and now have a minimum standard for equipment.

The Certificate and Registration working group report will now go for full public consultation as will that from the Children’s group. The report on the 3 pilot areas will describe the outcomes of the study. The final report with recommendations will issue in the summer and these will be based on the responses to the consultations. In the meantime he will be having ongoing discussions on standards with NHS QIS and RNIB will feed in to that work.

Questions were raised about classifying the scale of sight loss, the level of diagnostic work for optometrists and service standards. RNIB have produced a paper on standards as part of their response to the Eye Care consultation to suggest where standards could be added in. This is one piece of evidence we could use in our work on standards alongside other contributions.
Action Point

A copy of the RNIB paper on standards to be circulated to the group. Marion

5. Audiology review – John Gill
Research had shown that services had been declining for years and the report had made 43 recommendations for a sustained programme of investment to develop the service and reverse its decline. A 4 year programme began in 2003 and £17 million was made available to the Project Board to oversee the modernisation plan. The aim was for NHS patients to receive the hearing aid which best suited their needs, properly fitted, with follow up and support. The Project Manager supported the Health Boards with their plans, recommended the distribution of funds and promoted best practice. Work had been undertaken on the infrastructure and on developing the right skills. Training courses were also being developed and a modernised patient journey defined. Challenges ahead were to handle the increased expectations of patients, to promote quality as well as quantity and bring about culture changes. There is work still to be done on issuing guidance notes, subgroups and reviews, developing the private sector involvement and to focus on the next stage which is the rehabilitation aspects of the service. This last part should link in to our work on the sensory impairment action plan.

Following the presentation, points were raised about the involvement of deaf and deafblind in the review and a recognition that the investment in resources had had a huge impact on taking the work forward. The appointment of the Project Manager was important in driving the agenda for implementation of the recommendations and this was lacking in our work on sensory impairment. With the Spending Review approaching this should be a top priority. Rehabilitation is also important for our work and will be addressed through the introduction of standards which will be monitored. Questions arose about the work being done by Susan Buckle on Aids and Adaptations.

Action Point

Feedback to the Advisory Group that now may be the time to feed deafblind issues in to the work of the Review and also encourage a focus on rehabilitation work. John Gill
Action Point

A meeting to be set up with Division Heads to do some joint working on priorities for the Spending Review.

Jean Maclellan
Action Point

Approach Susan Buckle to talk about her work on Aids and Adaptations at a steering group meeting.

Jeannie Munroe
6. Any Other Business
Jean notified the group that the Vulnerable Adults Unit has changed its name to the Adult Support and Protection Unit and hoped that this would bring coherence to policies.

Jean then talked a little about the new Adult Support and Protection Bill being introduced which would cover rights of entry, assessment, measures to deal with abuse and exclusion orders for perpetrators. She will be talking to some groups over the next few weeks to address concerns. This group needs to think about how the Bill will have an impact on the service users they represent. Jean offered the Bill as a possible agenda item for another meeting.

Phyllis offered copies of her pensioners forum’s latest newsletter.
7. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be on 18 April 2006 in the same venue.

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