I work for a third sector charity supporting the health & social care partnership, I have seen first hand where cost efficiencies could be made to generate more spare income for essential services/ projects to support rural health care. For example some of the preferred suppliers being used are big organisations that charge more, if some services were moved to local suppliers for rural locations then maintenance costs are traditionally lower. (no additional travel costs) . Social prescribing - is an area that is proven to work and should be invested more in - it helps keep rural communities active , more in touch with each other , reduces isolation (thus improving mental health) and ultimately reduces the burden of cost on the NHS and reduces prescription costs. WE currently run a gym referral, walk groups , conversation cafes and many more activities in a rural location all supported by our community group. The people we support have said that they feel healthier , less likely to need NHS services - however the costs to us as a community group is great and it would be great to be able to work together with health care services to support the running costs of these activities as ultimately prevention is always the best route!
I work on a similar project, on many of the ferry linked isles of Orkney called the 'Island Wellbeing Project' https://www.islandwellbeing.org/ The Island Wellbeing Coordinators, based on the islands, have evidenced that they make a real difference to peoples health & wellbeing. They work through both 1 to 1 meetings, helping to signpost to appropriate services, alongside identifying need within the community & setting up groups to respond appropriately. i.e. Men's Shed, community larder, Play & Stay group for under 5's & parents. Our funding situation is limited as currently through grants.
I am tired of being excluded from things in my own community, simply because I am disabled and these things are not accessible to me, or other disabled people. Strengthen the rights and abilities of disabled people to challenge and change these things (rather than risk losing the roof over our heads by losing a legal case over a legal technicality rather than getting justice). Change the law to make things easier for us but stop letting other organisations away with treating disabled people unlawfully and and the NHS from shrugging its shoulders and saying accessibility is not within its remit. Talk about actually empowering and including disabled people in EVERYTHING.
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