Islanders Feel Optometry and Mental Health Services Should Be Improved

Islanders are generally happy with the medical services they receive in Scilly, but there is dissatisfaction over adult mental health services, availability of optician’s appointments and a lack of x-ray facilities.

That’s according to the latest Community Survey by the health watchdog, Link4Scilly.

Link says this survey had a smaller number of respondents than previously, although they still received 444 comments over 25 different services.

And top of the list for criticism was the optometry service, receiving 17 negative responses out of a total of 23.

Most respondents described the optician service on Scilly as “in need of improvement,” citing the difficulty of getting an appointment here and making it necessary to travel to the mainland.

One person said the service was “fabulous when you are able to get an appointment, but it’s not available on Scilly often enough.”

LINk says the health service is in the process of moving from an informal agreement with a company providing opticians services to are more formal service contract, which should hopefully resolve many of these problems.

And in the area of adult mental health, the majority of respondents were critical of the level and quality of the service provided here. They pointed to the need for relationship counselling and help with alcohol addiction.

LINk said there was a clear need for a local support worker for mental health and criticised the ‘place of safety’ arrangements for people with acute psychiatric disorders. They say the role of acute psychiatric nurse on the islands is currently unfilled due to ill health and they said they were disappointed that Cornwall Foundation Trust had not discussed the issues with them, although Carol Clarke says they’ve since had a very positive meeting with their medical director.

The lack of x-ray facilities when the old equipment was condemned last year raised some complaints too.

The PCT has recently announced the installation of a state-of-the-art digital x-ray system at St Mary’s hospital, which should be up and running by June. But LINk says it is “regrettable that the upgrade was not instigated sooner, in order to minimise disruption to the local service.”

Elsewhere, the services provided by St Mary’s Hospital were viewed as very good, although some felt the excellent facilities could be used more often rather than sending patients to the mainland.

Islanders felt he GP service at the health centre was generally good although some felt it could be improved. People were happy with the appointment of a female locum but said it was often difficult to get an appointment, a situation that LINk say should be improved with the recent appointment of two part-time female GPs at the surgery.

You can see a full copy of the survey here.