Linlithgow Public Health Consultation

Verena Throp
Linlithgow & Linlithgow Bridge Community Council
Linlithgow & Linlithgow Bridge Community Council organised a public consultation day to explore issues around Drugs & Alcohol, Suicide (Self-harm), Eating Disorders and Dementia Care with the local community. The event identified a number of key recommendations to be taken forward.
Start Date: April 2014
End Date: September 2014
Acute care, Community care, Local Authority, Primary care
Target groups
All groups, Carers
Aims and objectives
Mindful of the health and social care integration agenda, Linlithgow & Linlithgow Bridge Community Council started a Health and Care Working Group in 2013 to address local issues around health.

A recent report by the chairman of West Lothian Public Partnership Forum (PPF) found that suicide and drug and alcohol misuse were significant issues in the West Lothian area, “significantly higher than both Lothian and Scottish averages”. There has been much reporting in the local and national press about eating disorders and this was discussed in the Scottish Parliament in February 2014. It is also recognised that dementia is an area of increasing focus worldwide. The Working Group wanted to explore the extent to which the local community was affected by these four issues.

The purpose of the consultation was to ask:
• What are the Health and Care needs of the people in the local community?
• What help and support is available?
• Are current support services appropriate and adequate?
• What can be done to overcome difficulties and bring change?
• Where is change needed?
What we did
Through one of their representatives sitting on the West Lothian PPF for Health, the Health and Care Working Group approached the West Lothian Community Health & Care Partnership (CHCP) to request support to run a public consultation event held in September 2014. This was the first community health initiative taken forward by the community council and was supported by Julie Cassidy, West Lothian CHCP Public Involvement Co-ordinator.

The public consultation event was held at Linlithgow Burgh Hall and promoted through:
• an article in a local community paper, "The Black Bitch"
• 6,000 flyers printed by the Community Council and delivered to local houses and businesses, and
• internal promotion and invitations to key staff by the CHCP.

On the day, we welcomed people with tea and coffee. This was followed by a professional panel giving presentations and answering questions from the audience. Sitting on the panel were representatives from the CHCP, West Lothian Drug & Alcohol Service and local GPs.

45 members of the public and representatives from local organisations attended the meeting. A questionnaire was handed out at the event. We had 13 completed questionnaires returned.

We committed to producing a summary report of the discussion with recommendations and agreed to send the report to all participants, as well as making it available at the local library, through the CHCP and on the community council website.
An event report was published in November 2014 [attached].

The Health and Care Working Group of Linlithgow Community council presented a summary report of findings to the West Lothian Health & Care Partnership in January 2015 with the aim of working towards enhanced and improved, health and care services, according to need and in line with the upcoming Scottish Government and NHS ten-year strategy on “Our Health, Our Care, Our Future”.
No formal evaluation with attendees was undertaken at the event; however reflections by the community council and CHCP staff, as well as informal feedback at the West Lothian PPF for Health, indicates that the event was well organised and valuable. Julie Cassidy gave feedback from the CHCP that they felt that the event was well organised and were positive about the way forward.

A talk on Eating Disorders was presented to a group of young people at Linlithgow Young People’s Project (LYPP) in July 2014. We wanted to include the views of local young people in the consultation, and we invited staff representatives, young people and service users from the LYPP. They were unfortunately unable to attend on the day due to a prior commitment, but we shared the consultation report with them afterwards. They are keen to be involved in future events.