CARE HOME CRISIS
Region facing beds shortfall
Dumfries and Galloway is facing a £10 million care home beds crisis.
The region’s health and social care partnership has the task of coping with the double whammy of an ageing population and a shortage of residential accommodation.
The warning comes in a bombshell report that pinpoints a looming crisis based on a prediction that the over- 75 population is set to grow by more than half over the next 19 years.
Members of the partnership will be told that translates into a need for more than 500 extra beds carrying a price tag of £9.6 million.
The report, compiled by particular needs housing lead Julie Morley, for the integration joint board, reveals that people who are unable to remain in their own homes face limited choices.
And she highlights a “growing need” to offer more housing options.
South of Scotland MSP Emma Harper said: “Issues raised in this report are not an easy fix but I’m pleased to see that the integration joint board (of the partnership) is working to help people stay in their homes for as long as possible.
“This is absolutely essential and, as the deputy convener of
the health and sport committee, I’m particularly keen to see the outcome of this work.”
The report on the partnership’s particular needs housing strategy warns that when people can no longer live in their own homes it usually means a move to a residential care facility.
But Ms Morley points out: “Given the choice, we believe that many people would choose living in a housing style environment rather than a residential or nursing home environment if this could safely meet their personal outcomes.”
Her report says that demographic data shows there will be a 56 per cent rise in older people in the region between now and 2037.
At present, there are 1,129 residential and nursing home beds in the region. The partnership funds 994 placements at a cost of £27.7 million a year.
And she warns that if the partnership “makes no changes to the way we deliver services”, the increase in the population of over-75s means an additional 507 residential beds will be needed, which would cost an extra £9.6 million a year.
She adds that any care home closures “will naturally put increasing pressure on the already limited number of residential beds available to meet current and increasing demand”.
That has already happened in the Stewartry as the report includes the 19 beds at Dunjop near Bridge of Dee which closed last month.
It’s a similar problem for care at home provision. Currently, 2,054 older people are supported, providing 857,000 hours a year for people aged more than 65 at a cost of £17.7 million.
Using the same demographic figures, Ms Morley says there would be an additional 1,027 service users costing £6.7 million.
Providing care for elderly people isn’t the only issue, the report noting that in the Stewartry there is need for specialist housing for young adults with high support needs.
She believes the council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) “provides the opportunity to develop a range of housing provision alongside new and innovative models of care and support”.
MSP Emma Harper added: “People who are at an age when they are receiving a state pension do access the health care and welfare system more and, as people live longer, we have seen and will continue to see growing demands on the health system.
“Issues such as these are not just specific to Dumfries and Galloway, or indeed to Scotland, but to countries around the world.
“Health spending in Scotland this year is over £13.1bn.”
‘No easy fix’ MSP Emma Harper