Lanarkshire families asked to help care amid 'sustained pressure' on NHS

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Carer with elderly womanImage source, Getty Images

Relatives and friends are being asked to help with the care needs of their loved ones in Lanarkshire due to "sustained pressure" on services.

The area's health and social care services said there had been increases in hospital admissions, complex cases and in people attending A&E.

There have also been staff shortages, with some having to self-isolate.

It has caused disruption to community and hospital services, as well as increased waiting times.

There have been "significant increases in demand" for home care and support services, particularly those for people with complex needs.

As a result, people are being asked to help with the care needs of family members and friends - and some may see their care packages reduced.

The area's health and social care partnerships say they are focussing on providing urgent care to Lanarkshire's most vulnerable residents.

Ross McGuffie, chief officer for health and social care in North Lanarkshire, said: "This is the most challenging point for staff delivering safe, effective healthcare across the whole of health and social care since the pandemic started.

"Both partnerships are working closely with each other, NHS Lanarkshire and both councils to keep patients and service users as safe as possible.

"We have recruited more than 100 new staff across the North partnership. However, the level of pressure the whole health and social care system is under means that we're still facing major challenges in how we deliver services."

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Marianne Hayward, interim chief officer for South Lanarkshire health and social care partnership, said: "The current circumstances have forced us to move to critical service delivery across all areas. This means we are prioritising our services for the most vulnerable.

"This will result in discussions with service users and their families/carers about reductions in care packages where it is safe to do so and identifying support so that the most vulnerable people continue to receive critical services."

Earlier this week NHS Lanarkshire cancelled planned surgeries at its hospitals in Hairmyres, Monklands and Wishaw.

Judith Park, director of acute services, said: "The sustained pressure we are seeing across our three acute hospitals is showing no signs of easing.

"In fact, the pressures on our hospitals are as severe as at any time in the whole pandemic.

"Covid numbers in our hospitals are rising and this is an additional pressure while we are trying to recover services and treat patients who have planned operations."