£2m to tackle Edinburgh’s social care crisis

File picture: Esme Allen

File picture: Esme Allen

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HEALTH secretary Shona Robison will today announce a £2 million one-off cash injection to help tackle Edinburgh’s social care crisis.

It comes after figures published earlier this month revealed 95 people in the Capital had died while waiting for care.

The statistics showed Edinburgh had by far the worst performance on care of any local authority, with 400 people waiting for care packages and nearly 4000 hours of unmet demand for care in a single week.

The new cash will pay for more interim care beds, extra staff and new “hubs” linked to each hospital to help speed up patients being discharged. Ms Robison will make the announcement during a visit to Drumbrae Care Home.

She is expected to say the Scottish Government has ambitious aims. She will go on: “We’ll continue to work closely with local councils and NHS boards to reduce discharge delays and improve the availability of social care in communities.

“This one-off additional investment in Edinburgh will tackle the particular problems here and I look forward to seeing the resulting reduction and easing of pressure across the system.”

Ms Robison will add that the £250m for social care across Scotland announced by finance secretary John Swinney in his budget for next year should also help accelerate progress in eradicating delayed discharge from the system.

Today’s £2m investment will pay for 30 extra interim care beds at Gylemuir, additional staffing in reablement and mainstream home care, the development of hubs bringing together social workers and clinical staff to enable timely discharge and reduce admission to hospital and the introduction of clinical support workers to help prevent hospital admissions and support early discharge.

The new cash was welcomed by Councillor Ricky Henderson, city council leader of health and social care and vice-chairman of the new Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (IJB), which from April will co-ordinate health and social care for the Capital.

He said: “This additional funding will certainly help us to build on ongoing work to ensure that people can make a safe transition from hospital back to their homes.

“We actively work with partners in NHS Lothian, the Scottish Government as well as care providers to ensure that the right services are in place to support people to get home or to move to the right specialist provision as quickly and safely as possible.

“Growing demand has led to increased pressure on services, and this funding will help to create more beds and to pay for more staff. It’s important to recognise that health and social care staff from the NHS and council already work together very effectively to deliver integrated services, and the formation of the IJB last year will help us to build on what is solid ground.”

Politicians, unions and care companies have all acknowledged poor pay rates in the care sector make it difficult to recruit staff, especially in Edinburgh where other work is readily available.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com