Labour councillor Mark Hood has finally provided a response to community campaigner Linda Holt, who had been critical of Mr Hoods “Health Centre Campaign” which is currently being backed by Lochgelly Community Council.
In reply to Ms Holt’s (Unhappy at attack on Health Centre stance, CFT pg12, May 5th) question ‘What have you…..done to address the health inequalities in Lochgelly’.
I championed the first Lochgelly Health Round Table Event attended by local GP’s and Health Practitioners in the area as well as representatives from the Community Council, Teachers, Social Workers, Community Workers, Housing Staff and representatives from Local Voluntary Groups. The Health Round Table Event set the priorities for improving health care in the town (e.g. a new Health Centre), improve services for patients with mental health conditions and better joined up services from across the Health Service, Fife Council and the Voluntary Sector.
Since the Lochgelly Health Round Table Event, I have been lobbying NHS Fife regarding progressing the business case for a new Health Centre. This was agreed last May and work began last year. The campaign kicked off by the Lochgelly Community Council, is to lobby the Scottish Government to ensure we get support for a new Health Centre in the new government. This has proved to be a success with all the major political parties supporting the campaign.
One in three GP appointments are taken by patients with mental health issues, it was identified at the Lochgelly Health Round Table that there was a lack of counselling services for people in this area. To meet this need I worked with 3rd sector organisations, and using the area committee budget, we invested £97k in new counselling services for patients in the Cowdenbeath area. I am also lobbying NHS Fife to ensure these new services are funded in the future.
The Lochgelly Practice has piloted the new social prescribing model that allows GP’s the opportunity to refer patients to a Health Worker who will link the patient to other services for example money advice, housing services and a range of various other key services.
Heath inequalities have existed in our community for generations and we need to take a long term view if we are to transform the health outcomes for local people. This is why we have invested in local facilities to get people active. The most recent example is the new MUGA at Lochgelly Public Park, this following the £250k investment in the refurbishment of Lochgelly Community Use School which upgraded the 3G pitches and invested in new gym equipment. We have also been successful at attracting funding for a new Regional Cycling Centre for the area and Fife’s first Rock Climbing Centre, Rockgelly. This as well as the new 3G training pitch in Cardenden.
As well as facilities we have funded new programs designed at getting people active, with the most significant being free summer swimming, the Quid-a-Kid Program. Our most recent addition being 50 free swimming lessons for P1 pupils in Lochgelly and Cardenden, now planned to be rolled out across the area next year.
I hope this answers Ms Holt’s questions. I cannot speak for other political parties in the area, but hopefully I have explained what local Labour Councillors have been doing to address health inequalities in our community.
It’s also worth noting NHS Fife is not a function of the Council and as Councillors we have little control over budget or policy decisions made by NHS Fife.
Councillor Mark Hood
As yet there has still been no response from Lochgelly Community Council.