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.

Delayed discharge of mainly elderly people in hospitals is a much discussed problem but many are waiting for a care package in their own homes (Picture: John Devlin)
Delayed discharge of mainly elderly people in hospitals is a much discussed problem but many are waiting for a care package in their own homes (Picture: John Devlin)

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.

Hide Ad

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.

Hide Ad
Read More
Lothian MSP calls on Scottish Government to solve 'Edinburgh's Social Care Crisi...

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.

Hide Ad

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.

Hide Ad

Melanie Main is the Scottish Green councillor for Morningside and spokesperson for health and social care

A message from the Editor:

Hide Ad

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.