Back­bencher: ‘SNP’S flag­ship health plans not work­ing’

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By SCOTT MACNAB

Flag­ship Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment plans to drive down hos­pi­tal wait­ing times through the in­te­gra­tion of health and so­cial are “not work­ing in prac­tice”, a Na­tion­al­ist back­bencher has told First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon.

Chris­tine Gra­hame said that one of her con­stituents had been stuck in hos­pi­tal for eight months await­ing a care pack­age, as the SNP MSP raised short­com­ings high­lighted in a re­cent watch­dog re­port in Par­lia­ment.

Among the aims of in­te­grat­ing health and so­cial care was to drive down the prob­lem of bed-block­ing in Scot­land’s NHS, where hun­dreds of el­derly pa­tients are stuck in hos­pi­tal ev­ery day de­spite be­ing well enough to leave.

Bed-block­ing has been ris­ing in re­cent months in part be­cause pa­tients don’t have a care pack­age in place to al­low them to re­turn home.

Ms Gra­hame raised a re­cent Care In­spec­torate re­port into ser­vices for older peo­ple which iden­ti­fied de­lays in as­sess­ments in the Bor­ders, as well as pro­vid­ing ser­vices.

“I have one con­stituent ad­mit­ted to the Bor­ders Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Fe­bru­ary, not as­sessed un­til June and still wait­ing on his care pack­age even as I speak,” she told Ms Stur­geon at First Min­is­ters Ques­tions. “By my cal­cu­la­tion that’s eight months.”

Ms Gra­hame added: “Ad­mirable though the in­te­gra­tion of health and so­cial care is, it is ac­tu­ally not work­ing in prac­tice.”

The av­er­age num­ber of NHS hos­pi­tal beds oc­cu­pied per day in Au­gust 2017 was 1,343, it emerged this week. This com­pared with a daily av­er­age of 1,279 in May.

The First Min­is­ter said she was aware of the Care In­spec­torate re­port and said that Health Sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son has al­ready spo­ken to the lo­cal health board and leader of the coun­cil about these is­sues.

Ms Stur­geon added: “I know that NHS Bor­ders has al­ready taken steps to im­prove lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing learn­ing from other NHS boards.”

A spokesman for Ms Stur­geon later said the First Min­is­ter be­lieved the in­te­gra­tion of health and so­cial care was work­ing well.

The Care In­spec­torate re­port also ex­posed a string of fail­ings in care for the el­derly in Ed­in­burgh, with the pro­jected deficit in health and so­cial care costs ris­ing to £9 mil­lion.

More than 2,200 peo­ple are ei­ther wait­ing for an as­sess­ment for care at home or as­sessed as need­ing sup­port as the ef­fects of chronic un­der­fund­ing in the cap­i­tal start to

CHRIS­TINE GRA­HAME hit home. Thou­sands of job va­can­cies re­main un­filled as peo­ple choose to earn more money walk­ing dogs or work­ing as su­per­mar­ket as­sis­tants than they can as carers.

Char­i­ties in Scot­land have pre­vi­ously warned that the short­age of so­cial care work­ers is putting peo­ple at high risk, with some be­ing left with­out food, wa­ter and es­sen­tial medicines.

A new study pub­lished ear­lier this week sug­gested de­layed dis­charges fuel a rise in over­all death rates. Re­searchers said 7,800 ex­tra deaths a year in Eng­land and Wales are at­trib­ut­able to peo­ple be­ing forced to stay in hos­pi­tal longer than nec­es­sary.

“Ad­mirable though the in­te­gra­tion of health and so­cial care is, it is ac­tu­ally not work­ing in prac­tice”

0 The First Min­is­ter re­sponded to ques­tions on so­cial care dur­ing FMQS yes­ter­day

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