‘Considerable distance’ to travel if care targets are to be achieved

Care provision is critical. Picture: GETTY
Care provision is critical. Picture: GETTY
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Health secretary Shona Robison has slammed delays in securing care packages for patients across the Lothians saying council and NHS chiefs are a “considerable distance” from meeting their target.

The Cabinet Secretary poured fuel on the ongoing care crisis by highlighting how the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership had a long way to go if they held any hope of meeting their goal of reducing delays.

Latest figures show delays have fell from 215 to 186 but the Partnership have 
proposed a local target of reducing delays to 50 by the end of the year.

Ms Robison said in reply to a letter from Shadow Health Secretary Miles Briggs, that delivering current levels of service in the same way as has been done in the past was “not sustainable” and radical service redesign was required to meet these challenges.

The latest body blow to patients comes after councillors blasted the partnership over “disastrous” failings with 1800 still on the waiting list to be assessed for care provision including 800 who have not yet received care packages.

A scathing Care Inspectorate investigation into the quality of care provision in May found five out of nine factors of care were rated “unsatisfactory” or “weak”, while the projected deficit for health and social care costs rose to £9m in September.

Lothian MSP and Shadow Health Secretary Miles Briggs said eliminating delayed discharge where patients are stuck in hospital because a care package was not available, was a “very significant” issue across NHS Lothian.

He added: “Now even Shona Robison is conceding the situation is bad and that Edinburgh city is a ‘considerable distance’ from achieving even its target of reducing delayed discharge numbers to 50 patients.

“Latest figures indicate almost four times that number are experiencing delayed discharge, making Edinburgh the worst performing local authority in Scotland.”

Keith Robson, charity director of Age Scotland, said with growing demand for care it was clear services were not meeting requirements.

He added: “Our research suggests the situation in Edinburgh is far from unique. Health and social care partnerships across Scotland are struggling to meet the demand.”

Cllr Melanie Main, Green Health and Social Care 
Spokesperson, said: “The Scottish Government appears not to understand the magnitude of the funding gap health and care services face. Ms Robison has fair warning, by 2022 there will be an £104m funding gap in Edinburgh.”

Ms Robison said: “This year, almost half a billion pounds of additional investment will go into social care and integration while the health revenue budget will increase by almost £2 billion by 2021.”

Michelle Miller, Interim Chief Officer for the Partnership said the number of people whose discharge from hospital is delayed is a challenge.

She added: “The Partnership is working hard with home care providers, care homes and hospitals to address these delays.”