Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson visited Blackness Road Fire Station in Dundee today (Thursday, 6 March) to hear about innovative work by NHS Tayside and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to reduce fire accidents and deaths in vulnerable people.
Mr Matheson met with staff from NHS Tayside’s allied health professional (AHP) and community mental health services, SFRS and occupational therapy (OT) students, as well as representatives from NHS Education Scotland (NES) and Robert Gordon University.
Some of the partnership work showcased included the role of AHPs in improving access for vulnerable service users to other organisations such as the SFRS. The health practitioners conduct joint home fire safety visits with a community fire safety link worker who gives essential safety advice, installs and tests smoke detectors, issues fire retardant bedding and throws and discusses bedtime routines and fire escape plans with service users.
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said, “Everyone has a part to play when it comes to supporting our fire services, and further reducing the number of people killed by fire. We know that factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, and deprivation, can all contribute to fire.
“That’s where the Scottish Government and NHS boards can play a vital role. I’m delighted to be here in Tayside today to see the innovative work being carried out to work with vulnerable people. This is the kind of partnership scheme which can make a real difference and save lives.”
SFRS Dundee group manager Martin Tait added, “This is an ideal opportunity to showcase some of the fantastic partnership working that is going on in the Tayside area. The work that we have been involved in has been instrumental in preventing fires and people being injured as a consequence.
“This has ultimately led to making our communities safer and reducing the impact these types of incidents have on people and their families as well as reducing the impact on service providers such as the emergency services, the NHS and local authorities to name but a few.”
During his visit Mr Matheson viewed a DVD which was produced by NES, NHS Tayside, SFRS and Robert Gordon University. It featured the pilot of a new OT contemporary practice placement and captured the experiences of two OT students, fire officers and OT fieldwork educators from Robert Gordon University.
The innovative work placement saw the OT students dividing their time between working with SFRS community fire officers and community mental health OTs. The DVD is to be made available for partner agencies as an important additional teaching resource.
NHS Tayside Associate AHP Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Shelagh Creegan, said, “The success of our preventative partnership work has been achieved through effective leadership at every level of each partner organisation and our OT students have made a significant contribution to improving safety for vulnerable people living at home, using a collaborative style of leadership.
“There is now an opportunity to strengthen and promote the role of patient safety in the community, focusing on the delivery of safe, effective and person-centred services in people’s homes.”