The political leader of health and social care in Edinburgh should resign over claims the service has gone “from crisis to crisis” under his watch, opponents have said.
Last week it was revealed that the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (IJB), which is chaired by Councillor Ricky Henderson, has failed to make expected savings – leaving the authority with a lack of funding to provide care at home.
The inability to find savings had contributed to a projected overspend by the city council of £7.7 million. The council’s annual performance report showed that more than three times more late discharges than the authority’s target were tallied up every month during 2017/18.
Edinburgh Conservatives’ health and social care spokesman, Cllr Phil Doggart, has now demanded Cllr Henderson quits his position and takes responsibility for the failings. Cllr Doggart said: “All of these major problems in the delivery in health and social care have deteriorated under the political leadership of Cllr Henderson.
“Health and social care leaps from crisis to crisis. Surely it is now time for Cllr Henderson to admit the failings under his leadership and resign his position.”
He added: “We learned that there has been little to no progress in implementing savings of over £6m in care provision. The tangible impact on care provision over the rest of 2018/19 remains to be seen, but the prognosis appears gloomy.”
When the coalition took over at City Chambers in May 2017, 168 people were discharged late from city hospitals – against a target of 50 per month. The number has failed to drop below the 150 mark each month, and peaked in March with 267 late discharges.
Cllr Henderson said difficulties with health and social care were being seen across the country. He said: “I have been clear on the pressures facing our health and social care service as well as my confidence in the positive plans we are adopting to tackle these. We are not alone – this is a national issue.
“One of the significant roles of the EIJB is to shape effective, modern and sustainable health and care services for the future and to work differently, as part of a wider partnership to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents. The ways we have done things traditionally will simply be ineffective in meeting the increasing demand for our services.
“A huge cultural shift like this should not be underestimated nor should it be expected that there can be quick fixes for these complex challenges. We remain ambitious and committed to improving and developing services for those who need them.”