Michael Matheson MSP visits Carr Gomm’s Falkirk Service.

Carr Gomm’s Falkirk Service receives a visit from Michael Matheson, MSP.

Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, took the chance to visit Carr Gomm to speak to those receiving support and to discuss the future of social care in Scotland.

Michael Matheson MSP visited Carr Gomm's Falkirk service.

Mr Matherson visited Carr Gomm’s Falkirk office to hear from staff and those supported to better understand the impact Carr Gomm has on the local community and to discuss how social care will be provided in future.

For 21 years, the Falkirk service has supported people to live independently and provided personalised and tailored support suited to every individual’s specific needs.

Michael Matheson MSP visited Carr Gomm's Falkirk service.Mr Matheson heard about the positive impact the service has had on individuals and the community from those who receive support.

Angela and Andrew Fyfe, both supported by Carr Gomm for over 11 years, told Mr Matheson about their care, with Angela stating she would be ‘lost without Carr Gomm’s support.’

She receives support from Carr Gomm every week, and her support practitioners help her with medication and injections, as well as personal care, social opportunities, and home care.

Operations Manager Mavis explained how Angela’s unique support requirements have led to the upskilling of staff. Explaining that Support Practitioners would not normally administer injections to people supported. However, in this situation, it was decided that staff would be trained to give injections to allow Angela to continue to receive care at home.

Another person supported that Mr Matheson spoke to was Ian, who receives 6 hours of care a week over three days. He explained how he is supported in various ways, from everyday household chores to attending social events. As well as Angela, Ian said his support is vital to being able to live the life he chooses.

Mr Matheson was shown the latest Involvement film featuring Cameron and his support staff at Carr Gomm’s Woodside Court service. The film highlights how person-centred care can be provided to those with non-traditional communication and the benefits of consistent core staff to building stronger relationships with people supported.

After viewing the Involvement Film, Mr Matheson responded – ‘Carr Gomm is very person-centred.’

Michael Matheson MSP visited Carr Gomm's Falkirk service.

Mr Matheson then inquired about any unique initiatives Carr Gomm offers.

Andrew Thomson, Deputy Chief Executive, explained Carr Gomm’s Responder service in Falkirk. The service allows overnight care by working closely with people supported to provide emergency care when required. This service, offered to approximately 50 to 60 people in the Falkirk area, helps to give more independence to people supported, helps prevent people from going into hospital as well as allowing, in some cases, an early discharge from hospital.

Although the response service has been a great success in Falkirk since it was implemented in 2015, Andrew noted that it has been difficult to implement in other regions.

Another person supported Mr Matheson spoke to was Andrew, Falkirk’s resident Elvis. He shared with Mr Matheson how, with the support of Carr Gomm, he can live independently in his own home and is given freedom of choice with his care. Andrew hoped that more staff were available to help more people who need it.

Recruitment has become an issue with social care that Mr Matheson was aware of. He noted that going forward, social care will likely change dramatically over the next few decades to accommodate this, with social care becoming a more community-based system. For this to happen, Mr Matheson talked of the structural and societal changes that would be needed.

Michael Matheson MSP visited Carr Gomm's Falkirk service.Andrew Thomson, Deputy Chief Executive, attested to the need for a change in culture, in particular the use of language. ‘Bed-blocking’ and ‘delayed discharge’ put the responsibility on the individual in hospital rather than highlighting that the system is failing individuals.

Mr Matheson agreed, stating the system must change to protect those from unnecessary prolonged hospital stays and build a community health service to support the wider team, with a focus on home care.

Mr Thomson went on to share with Mr Matheson how Carr Gomm and the National Involvement Group have contributed to Feeley’s review of adult care and the Government’s consultation on the National Care Service. Mr Matheson was very pleased to hear that both Carr Gomm and people supported had given feedback.

The discussion was largely optimistic that social care will improve and be able to assist more people to live independently and be supported in the life they wish to live.

Michael Matheson MSP visited Carr Gomm's Falkirk service.

As a testament to social care’s positive impact, Mr Matheson heard from Gordon, who has dramatically changed his life and independence in just under three years of receiving support from Carr Gomm. After spending almost 30 years in a residential setting, Gordon is now supported to live independently in his own flat and has a fully accessible car, which he uses to go to football games and socialise with friends. Earlier this year, Gordon went on his first-ever holiday to Blackpool and is already planning his next trip away. Friends and family have expressed how amazed they are with Gordon’s transformation and how much more independent he has become in such a short stretch of time. Gordon’s story exemplifies how liberating social care at home can be.





We want to extend our thanks to Michael Matheson for visiting the Carr Gomm service in Falkirk. Staff and people supported in attendance appreciated the chance to be heard and share their experiences with Carr Gomm and to discuss how to improve social care support nationally in future.