Age Concern Scotland's Fife User Panels were launched in 1992 as a project aimed at developing Panels of older people and providing them with an opportunity to influence the provision of services which help them maintain an independent lifestyle.
Fife User Panels were formed in 1992 out of the recommendations of the NHS and Community Care Act of 1990. The Act pushed for the increased consultation of service users by local authorities. Age Concern Scotland led the effort to include elderly people in such consultations.
The user panels aim to provide a voice to a group that might otherwise find it very hard to be heard. It also aims to improve the quality of services delivered to elderly people.
To become a Panel member, participants must be over 70 (the oldest member is 101), have difficulty being mobile and be a user of various community care services. Health, social and voluntary organisations nominate participants to the Panel.
The Panels have been in use for over a decade now and there are currently 7 operating across Fife with 8 Panellists each. The Panellists share their experiences of services ranging from health and social care to housing, transport, information and social activities.
The older people themselves control the agenda with one member of staff facilitating and another (or a volunteer) taking notes, to ensure that issues raised are fed into the appropriate decision making channels.
Service planners and providers from Fife Council and NHS Fife are invited by Panel members on a regular basis to discuss issues they are concerned about.
The Panels are now a recognised part of the consultation process of Fife Council and the local NHS agency. Panel meetings have enabled users to influence service provision within Fife. Two examples are an enhanced cleaning service for Home Care clients and good practice for Hospital Discharge.
Fife User Panels Age Concern Scotland 11 Wemyssfield KIRKCALDY KY1 1XN Telephone: 01592 204273, Fax: 01592 644693 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gather individual pre-existing opinions
Number of participants
Self selected participants attending as individuals (open access process)
Level of awareness and interest
participants know about some aspects/can roughly articulate some interest
Health and well-being
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... face to face processes
Level of involvement