Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh social care 'crisis could cause harm to people'

Older person
Image caption Health and social care targets have been missed, despite a critical report in May 2017

Edinburgh's poor social care performance could cause "direct harm to people", according to a risk report.

The Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership has failed to hit targets, blamed partly on a lack of resources and an ageing population.

The partnership aims to deliver personal outcomes for patients, such as homecare packages.

A partnership spokeswoman said they were working to increase capacity for care and home services and cut delays.

The report, before a council committee, has warned of the consequences of not getting on top of the service.

The corporate leadership team update report ranks health and social care as the council's top area of risk.

The report, before the governance, risk and best value committee says: "The potential impact of failure to manage this risk effectively could include direct harm to people, safeguarding breaches, inappropriate or insufficient care packages being offered and significant reputational damage to the council."

'Crisis point'

Liberal Democrats have called for more funding from the Scottish government to improve care.

Kevin Lang, Liberal Democrat councillor for Almond ward, said: "This report shows the crisis we are facing in health and social care. It sets out, in the starkest of terms, the challenge the council faces, particularly given current financial pressures.

"It is vital for the agreed improvement plan to be taken forward. However, there is only one long-term solution and that has to be the Scottish government providing the funding Edinburgh needs to look after our most vulnerable citizens."

Conservatives raised concerns about the quality of care over the winter period.

Move home

Phil Doggart, councillor for Colinton/Fairmilehead, said: "Despite constant promises of improvement to the service since the damaging report of May 2017, this area continues to under-perform.

"As we move into the winter, there will be greater pressure placed on the delivery of health and social care. If not the risk identified in the report of causing direct harm to people will materialise. That has been, and remains, unacceptable."

A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership said reducing delays remained a top priority.

"We work very closely with colleagues, over a range of initiatives, to increase the capacity for care and home services, as well as capacity within the care and nursing home sector, in order to increase the earliest opportunity for individuals to move home, or to a homely environment," she said.

"We are never complacent about the scale and extent of the challenges, but we are making progress in reducing the numbers of delays and will continue to prioritise this challenge and report on progress."

Story provided by local democracy reporter David Bol.

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