Councillor Ricky Henderson: City’s social care is getting there

Far too many people waiting far too long to have their needs assessed and start receiving the care and support they need. Picture: John Devlin
Far too many people waiting far too long to have their needs assessed and start receiving the care and support they need. Picture: John Devlin
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I’m pleased to let readers know that the second annual performance report of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board, which has responsibility for health and social care services in the Capital, has just been published.

While there’s been a lot of news lately covering areas where we don’t perform well – which we acknowledge is unacceptable and will change – there are other elements of our work across the whole health and social care partnership where we do well, or are showing progress.

Councillor Ricky Henderson is chair of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Councillor Ricky Henderson is chair of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

We know we still have significant challenges in providing ‘the right care, in the right place at the right time’ with far too many people waiting too long to have their needs assessed and start receiving the care and support they need. People are also waiting too long in hospital when they are fit to go home.

These are both areas we have prioritised for improvement. In recent months we have secured more care home places which is leading to reductions in people being delayed in hospital. This is a sign of our plans beginning to make a difference in Edinburgh and we anticipate further improvements in time.

It’s also important to acknowledge there are some areas where we perform well. Our performance in reducing emergency admissions to hospital and treating people in the community remains strong. We are one of the top performing partnerships in Scotland in relation to reducing emergency admissions to hospital for people over the age of 75. This is a good measure of the work of our primary care and community teams in supporting people in their own homes or a homely setting. 

I am also pleased to see that when people do receive services, they are generally happy and think of them as being of a high standard. It is encouraging to see that the percentage of people who rated the care they received as excellent or good when responding to the Health and Care Experience Survey had increased slightly from the previous survey undertaken two years ago.

The performance report also sets out the developments underway to strengthen the way we work in communities and highlights innovative actions to reduce health inequalities and improve access to services. 

Our Community Link Workers approach is having a positive impact in GP practices and for the people that access the service. We’re also reinvigorating our approach to self-directed support with our teams implementing different forms of assessment that look at what helps keep people active and independent. Improving support for carers and helping carers access advice and support at the right time remains a priority. You can find out more about each of these initiatives as you read through the report.

Although we face some significant challenges in health and social care, we remain ambitious as a partnership and committed to improving and developing services.

Councillor Ricky Henderson is chair of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board. Edinburgh’s Health and Social Care Annual Performance Report 2017-18 can be accessed at the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership website