Edinburgh's social care crisis: Frail elderly people are being sent by private care sector to overstretched council services – Melanie Main
After years of neglect, cuts in funding and lack of investment by national government, the crisis in health and social care is in plain sight.
Services have been lost or cut back, staff shortages and long waiting lists have become the norm.
Delayed discharge – the number of people waiting in hospital for a package of care – is an issue we hear a great deal about.
At the start of the pandemic, numbers fell dramatically when funding suddenly became available, but they are on the rise again, with 140 in acute wards in December.
But the little known fact that puts the crisis in perspective is that almost 1,000 people are waiting at home in the community in Edinburgh for a package of care.
And before Christmas, they were joined by a steady stream of frail and elderly residents, who the private sector could no longer look after and were handed back into the care of overstretched council services.
I applaud our staff who rose to yet another challenge, but they are exhausted and demoralised. To add insult to injury, some council staff are working alongside NHS staff who do exactly same job as they do, but have better pay and conditions.
And even though increases to the ‘living wage plus’ are very welcome, it remains the fact that supermarkets pay better rates for working in a far less challenging environment. It is hardly a wonder that recruiting and retaining staff has proved pretty much impossible for so long.
That is why I support the calls to pay care workers at least £15 per hour, reflecting the expertise and skills of their profession.