Minister for Public Health
Adults and children with a sensory impairment should expect seamless provision of assessment, care and support and the same access to employment, education, leisure, healthcare and social care as everyone else.
With this in mind, the Scottish Government has worked with partners representing local authorities, health boards and the third sector to develop a Scottish Sensory Impairment Strategy: See Hear - A Strategic Framework for Meeting the Needs of People with a Sensory Impairment in Scotland.
For the purposes of this Strategy, sensory impairment includes varying degrees of hearing loss, sight loss and loss of both senses. It also covers people at risk of sensory loss and those who may be living with hidden and untreated loss which may be present in people with learning disabilities or conditions such as dementia or stroke.
See Hear is a Strategy for both children and adults. It recognises the rising incidence of those illnesses and disabilities that increase with age and acknowledges the work for children with sensory loss taking place through policies such as Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC), the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill which is currently progressing through Parliament and the Scottish Government's response to the Doran Review, all of which will have a positive impact on the lives of children and young people with sensory loss. It is set against a background of increasing demand, the requirement for greater efficiency and effectiveness, and Health and Social Care Integration.
See Hear takes a practical approach and sets out a model care pathway and seven recommendations which should ensure that individuals and service providers have a clear understanding and expectation of what services are available and will be delivered, and a clear understanding of the support that should be available following diagnosis of sensory loss.
The pathway and recommendations provide service deliverers, whether in the statutory or third sector, a framework for structured, co-ordinated, person-centred service delivery and support.
The Strategy will be implemented via local partnerships, including statutory and third sector partners, which will identify local priorities and approaches. To help the establishment of these local partnerships and the subsequent implementation, the Government has committed £1m in 2013/14 and £1m in 2014/15.
I would like to thank all those who contributed to the development of this Strategy and responded to the consultation exercise. See Hear presents an opportunity to make a significant difference for people with vision, hearing and dual sensory loss in Scotland. I know that all parties involved will be keen to engage in the partnership work required to make the opportunity a reality.
Email: Alan Nicholson