VHS News and Events

VHS News & Events

National Planning Framework (NPF4) consultation with Scottish Parliament
On Monday 7 February the Scottish Parliament is holding an engagement event on the draft National Planning Framework (NPF4) consultation. VHS are hosting a break-out session we’d like to invite members to take part in. Book here.

NPF4 blog for the event: Kimberley, our policy engagement officer, has written a blog about why planning is relevant to voluntary health organisations and how we can best influence the draft National Planning Framework 4.

Data Strategy for Health & Social Care: Scottish Government Engagement
The recently published digital health and care strategy commits to the development of Scotland’s first ever dedicated Data Strategy. The working vision of the Strategy is to ensure health and care data supports the delivery of health and social care services, and to ensure it does so in a way that empowers citizens and supports innovation and research. If you work in the area of health and social care join us on 9 February to engage with the Directorate for Digital Health and Care around these issues.

Ageing well with The Open University: A knowledge exchange
Over the course of 2020 and in January 2021, VHS ran a series of events on ageing well with the Open University. This event online event on 1 March will pick up the discussion – join us and the OU to discuss  ageing and wellbeing.

Cross Party Group Joint Meeting: Mental Health and Health Inequalities
The Cross Party Group on Mental Health and the Cross Party Group on Health Inequalities will be hosting a joint meeting on the 3 May chaired by Co-convenor of both groups, Emma Harper MSP. More information on speakers and booking details to follow soon. Please contact Lauren Blair if you have any questions.

VHS Member’s Meet up January 2022 – Key Messages
VHS members met online to reflect on the year and look at priorities for 2022. The wide-ranging discussion covered organisations’ individual services and workstreams, alongside more general experiences of remote and hybrid working.The main challenge raised by organisations was the inability to plan priorities, work patterns and events for the year ahead due to the volatility of the pandemic.  Read Key messages

Cross Party Group on Health Inequalities Meeting 1 February 2022
This meeting of the CPG on Health Inequalities, will be chaired by co-convenor Brian Whittle MSP on the theme of active, healthy and creative children in Scotland – the minutes and presentations will be posted on the VHS website in due course.

Scottish Community Link Worker Network 
The Scottish Community Link Worker Network is the national network for primary care community link working in Scotland. The network aims to create a space for community link workers in primary care settings in Scotland to come together to share learning and to develop, network and support each other in order to improve outcomes for their patients and communities. There is a dedicated web page for the Network on the VHS website and we are looking for engaging contributions from CLW – so do get in touch if you have any suggestions. Please email Roisin Hurst, Network Development Officer to find out more about the Network.


Policy News

Wellbeing and living with COVID protection measures survey
The Scottish Government has opened a consultation survey on wellbeing and living with COVID protection measures. The short survey asks questions about people’s experiences of COVID measures and for thoughts on the year ahead. It also asks about people’s experiences self-isolating, if applicable, and how the pandemic has impacted social interactions or working experiences.  Survey closes 13 Feb 2022

Health committee launches inquiry into alternative care pathways
The Health, Social Care & Sport Committee is undertaking an inquiry into how patients access primary care in Scotland and the alternative routes to treatment, with consultations launched for written responses and survey responses.  Alternative pathways to healthcare in the community include: seeing a different health practitioner such as a physiotherapist who works in the GP practice or in the local community; being socially prescribed to other types of support to improve health and wellbeing such as walking groups; and using telephone helplines or websites to access additional information or online therapy. The aim of the inquiry is to explore how alternative pathways are being accessed and used and to identify key issues and opportunities for improvement. The call for survey views closes on 17 February while the call for written views closes on 22 February.

New approach to mental health and wellbeing support within primary care
Scottish Government will investment up to £40m per year to provide more mental health and wellbeing services within GP practices and community settings. Patients who need mental health support will find a range of professionals available through their GP surgery, which could include: mental health nurses, psychologists, peer support workers, occupational therapists, and link workers. Funding is from the Mental Health Recovery & Renewal Fund  and will increase annually to support implementation of the new Mental Health & Wellbeing Primary Care Services (MHWPC), reaching an expected £40m per year by 2024-25. Services will also link to community support such as addiction services, food banks and benefit support. The government has subsequently published guidance to support local planning and implementation of MHWPC services.

Chronic pain service delivery – draft framework: consultation
This consultation on the draft Framework sets out the vision to improve the quality of life and wellbeing for people with chronic pain in Scotland by delivering person-centred, effective and safe care. Closes 28 February 2022

Prevention of homelessness duties: consultation
The Scottish Government and COSLA opened a joint consultation on the proposals for new prevention of homelessness duties. This consultation creates an opportunity for individuals and organisations to have their say on changes to the homelessness system in Scotland. Closes 31 March 2022.  These proposals would require more assistance to be provided to households facing housing problems at an earlier stage – preventing them from reaching crisis point, while retaining strong rights for individuals and giving them a stronger voice and more control during the process. These proposals aren’t just about housing, they’re about health too. The number of people attending A&E without a home is six times higher than the general population; they are admitted to hospital four times as often, and end up staying three times as long. The proposals would place duties on wider public services to make prevention of homelessness a shared public responsibility. It is therefore vital that the new system be designed by colleagues across, housing, health, criminal justice and more. Crisis reached out to VHS to outline the importance of garnering our sector’s views on this consultation. For more information contact Crisis Senior Policy Officer Rhiannon Sims.

Health Policy Officers Network
The network met in January to discuss the Scottish Government’s draft National Planning Framework 4 and consultation. Policy officers heard from the Parliament’s Participation & Communities Team and experts in SPICe to discuss how planning policy can impact people’s health and wellbeing. A summary of the key messages will be published on the HPON page shortly. If you are interested in joining the network, please contact Kimberley. Alongside Laura Jones from RNIB, Kimberley has been scoping out engagement opportunities for the network in 2022.

VHS Members News

Time to Talk Day 2022
Time to Talk Day is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation. Taking place on Thursday 3 February, it’s the day that friends, families, communities, and workplaces come together to talk, listen and change lives. See Me, with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) are hoping to get as many people talking about mental health as they can. This year they’re looking at all the different ways you can start a conversation on mental health, but with a real focus as well on what we can all do to make sure we’re listening, not just talking.

Those already at risk from heavy drinking bought more alcohol during lockdowns
New research shows that adults already at risk of harm from heavy drinking bought significantly more alcohol during Covid-19 lockdowns – however, this was less pronounced in Scotland and Wales compared to England. The researchers point to this possibly being linked to the Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) policy which has already been shown to reduce purchases of alcohol, particularly amongst some of the heaviest-drinking households.  Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said: “We urge the Scottish Government to increase the minimum unit price of alcohol to at least 65p per unit to optimise the benefits and save more lives. We also need to improve treatment and recovery support so that those with an existing alcohol issue can receive help wherever they live, when they need it.”

Every Story’s Ending
Every Story’s Ending is a new report by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care. It explores what can be done in Scotland to improve people’s experiences of serious illness, dying and bereavement.

Scottish Compassionate Communities Toolkit
End of Life Aid Skills for Everyone is a course designed to enable people to be more comfortable and confident supporting family and community members with issues they face during dying, death and bereavement. The course has been developed by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.

Lockdown and beyond: A COVID Insights report
During the Covid pandemic we have become used to hearing phrases such as ‘Stay at home – save lives’ and ‘Stay at home – stay safe’. However for families affected by someone else’ alcohol or drug use, this is not the case. Home can be a place of heightened risk and harm, a situation worsened by the pandemic. This Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs report gives insights into the impact on families of having to stay at home, ways to reach families using digital and virtual support and steps SFAAD have taken to ensure families have stayed supported and connected.

Cancer Support Scotland have launched a new training academy
The academy will train qualified massage therapists how to treat people affected by the illness, after hearing from patients who are routinely turned down for massage therapy over fears treatments encourage the disease to spread – despite there being no medical evidence of a link. The Oncology Massage Diploma is an accredited short advanced massage course to develop skills and knowledge to work with  people affected by cancer.

People at the Centre: ALLIANCE Digital Gathering 2022
This online Digital Gathering from 21 – 25 February offers opportunities for  delegates to engage and discuss pertinent issues in health, social care, and more. With people’s lived experience at its heart, this 2022 event is designed to build connections and inspire.

Walkable communities: two-part webinar
Living Streets Scotland invite you to their two-part webinar series which offers a fresh perspective on walking infrastructure: what it is and how to get it. They encourage local authorities, active travel advocates, and equalities groups to join them in their mission to find a route to walkable neighbourhoods that everyone can travel.
8 February Part 1: Beyond Tarmac: what communities really need to get them walking
22 February Part 2: Learning from Benches: a case study on infrastructure frustrations

Small grants for community organisations
ASH Scotland have small grants available to support community organisations to improve people’s health and wellbeing by addressing smoking. The support available includes access to:  a small grant of £500, a package of tailored support and free resources and training. More information and how to apply here.

Save the Date – No Smoking Day – 9 March 2022
The theme of No Smoking Day 2022 is Quit Your Way and ASH Scotland will be inspiring people to think about quitting and to access the free expert advice and support available to them. To request a new social media resource pack to help organisations and individuals to spread the message and support No Smoking Day on 9 March 2022 e-mail  specifying what social media channels you use.

Other News

Need for urgent change in the delivery of social care in Scotland
briefing by the Accounts Commission and the Auditor General for Scotland has called for urgent change to the delivery of social care, identifying fundamental issues that threaten the future sustainability of the care system. The briefing calls for a greater emphasis on preventative care and tailoring services to the needs of individuals and for an attitude shift to focus on outcomes rather than costs when assessing care services. It also urges the Scottish Government and its partners to bring together the views and experiences of service users and carers to support the delivery of long-held ambitions for social care.

Involvement opportunity SIGN guideline on Care of deteriorating patients
The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), part of Healthcare Improvement Scotland, is seeking participants with lived experience to join a multi-disciplinary group that will update the SIGN guideline on care of deteriorating patients. The work is expected to take place over the next 12 months and group members may be asked to attend approximately four meetings remotely. Find out more here.

The Workplace Equality Fund accepting applications
Advice Direct Scotland are administering the delivery of the latest iteration of the Workplace Equality Fund – a source of financial support for Scottish businesses and organisations striving to improve equality-related outcomes for priority groups within the workplace. Find out more here.

Ethnic Minority National Resilience Network
BEMIS Scotland are aware that ethnic minority communities across Scotland have needed to self-isolate and may need additional support to access support agencies, emergency relief or make contact with broader community support initiatives. They have set up contacts within their networks across Scotland to offer a peer to peer support service and sharing best practice from local community responses. For further information / to join the network please email.

Tesco Community Grants Info Session for Food Projects and Organisations
Online Q and A session on 19 January at 4.30pm with a chance to meet the Community Enabler Team who can support you to apply. Sign up free via Eventbrite . More info about the grants and your local Community Enabler can be found here.


Scottish Government news

New Independent Advocacy Service opens
Scottish Budget 2022-23 Stage One
Listening to those with Lived and Living Experience
Next steps in hearing services review
Mobile operating theatre for Orkney and Shetland
Staff joining social care to have fees waived
Expansion to NHS 24
Increasing mental health support in GP practices
Prioritising essential social care services

Covid 19 news

Call for adults to participate in COVID antivirals study
The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) has urged adults anywhere in the UK, who are over the age of 50 or are aged 18 to 49 with an underlying health condition, and who test positive for COVID, to sign up for the PANORAMIC COVID study which is providing antivirals to thousands of people. The UK government and leading health charities are calling on at least 6,000 more participants to come forward so that researchers can understand more about how to deploy these treatments in the NHS more widely later in the year. The UK-wide study, run by the University of Oxford and supported by the National Institute for Health Research, launched at the start of December 2021 and currently has around 4,600 trial participants signed up.

COVID Recovery and Reform Bill introduced
Changes to working from home advice
Distance Aware
Restrictions eased for care home residents
Omicron measures to be lifted
Coronavirus in Scotland 


Dates for your diary
3 Feb Time to Talk Day
7 Feb National Planning Framework (NPF4) consultation with Scottish Parliament
9 Feb: Data Strategy for Health & Social Care: Scottish Government Engagement
23 Feb: SHAAP Managed Alcohol Programme (MAP) Webinar
21-24 Feb: Forth Valley Third Sector Conference 2022
21-25 Feb: People at the Centre: ALLIANCE Digital Gathering
28 Feb: COVID & the Provision of Health Care
9 Mar: No Smoking Day
29 Mar: Places and Spaces for Health and Wellbeing webinar
3 May: Cross Party Group Joint Meeting: Mental Health and Health Inequalities