The Scottish branch of the Faculty for the Psychology of Older People (FPoP) is a friendly, enthusiastic and active group. The membership comprises over 60 people from health boards throughout Scotland, representing a wide range of experience and expertise.
Typically health boards within Scotland’s central belt take turns in hosting meetings. However, it is not unknown for us to venture as far north as the Highlands or down south to Dumfries and Galloway. We aim to have a guest speaker at each meeting. In 2012 we had presentations on topics that included the development and implementation of government policy, setting up a young onset dementia service, and staff attitudes to the use of music with people who have dementia. Speakers are often from other professional backgrounds: we recently hosted a meeting at the headquarters of Alzheimer’s Scotland in Edinburgh where their Chief Executive, Henry Simmons, presented on post-diagnostic support for people with dementia.
A recent survey of our membership showed that presentations from guest speakers were amongst the most appreciated aspects of the FPoP Scotland meetings. Members also valued the opportunity to meet with colleagues from across the country to hear about new initiatives and receive peer support. This is particularly vital as many members typically work with little or no contact from other older adult psychologists.
The FPoP meetings allow for discussion of topics that affect all psychologists working with older adults. In Scotland the current primary objectives are to ensure:
• services are accessed within 18 weeks from time of referral (one of the Scottish Government’s HEAT Targets);
• age and diagnosis of dementia are not barriers to accessing psychological services;
• delivery of psychological therapies that are evidence-based, as summarised in A Guide to Delivering Evidence-based Psychological Therapies in Scotland - The Matrix.
We are fortunate that within our membership we have psychologists responsible for authoring influential documents; those who provide regular consultation to the Scottish Government; and those responsible for training the psychology workforce. Furthermore, a number of members are involved at a national level for FPoP and we have ties with the Division of Clinical Psychology (Scotland) and the Division of Neuropsychology. These links ensure that FPoP Scotland remains a relevant, valued and well-informed group.
From DCP Scotland we regularly receive details of questions and answers in the Scottish Parliament: this January, for example, Mary Scanlon, Conservative MSP (Highlands and Islands) asked the Scottish Government what plans it has to update Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) guideline 86* in order to ensure that people with dementia receive the testing, diagnosis and interventions needed to assist with their condition. The expected answer is on 25th January.
Dr Ross Warwick
Clinical Psychologist / FPoP Scotland Convenor
Department of Psychological Services and Research
Dumfries and Galloway
Tel: 01387 244495