Re­gion fac­ing beds short­fall

The Galloway News - - FRONT PAGE - Stu­art Gille­spie

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

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