Care for older people has always been something of a “Cinderella service”.
More of us are living longer and needing support at some stage to remain independent. Yet, despite a growing awareness, the issue still does not receive quite the same focus as, say, hospital waiting times or literacy results. Partly as a result, perhaps, it still does not receive the funding and attention it needs.
Setting up local partnerships to bring together NHS and council-run social services was supposed to solve many of these problems. No one expected so-called bed-blocking and long waits for care packages to disappear overnight.
But they were supposed to get better. If anything, yesterday’s report into services for older people in Edinburgh makes it look like they have got worse.
Make no mistake, the report may have been cast in diplomatic language, but it was scathing. It is one of the worst I have seen in more than 20 years pouring over such reports as a journalist and the reaction privately of some working in the sector has been the same.
It is clear that social workers and NHS staff are doing a good job when people see them - but getting to see the right person is a serious problem.