Like health and social care partnerships across Scotland, the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership is having to deal with increasing pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social care services and providers in the Capital and nationwide are experiencing rising demand and need for services and significant staffing pressures due to a number of factors including people leaving their roles, higher than normal sickness levels and staff who are self-isolating.

It means that care packages normally provided for people in their own homes may be affected in the weeks ahead, as well as delays to the start of provision for people newly assessed as requiring care at home.

Providers are running an urgent recruitment drive to encourage and recruit new carers into the sector and to help deal with the situation.

A report to the Council’s Policy and Sustainability Committee today [5 October] highlighted the challenges being experienced in Edinburgh’s care at home provision and the measures the EHSCP is taking to address the situation.

Judith Proctor, Chief Officer of the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, said:

“This is an unprecedented, nationwide situation and one which we know is causing great concern among service users and families across Scotland. In Edinburgh we’re doing whatever we can to mitigate the situation and make sure we’re looking after the most vulnerable people. We would like to apologise to all people that rely on our services that have been affected and to assure them we are working extremely hard to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

“Many people will already be aware of the acute pressures facing health and social care services across Scotland. The inescapable fact is that without sufficient staff numbers we simply can’t provide all the care that we would normally.

“If people’s services are to be affected or reduced or if a member of staff cannot visit, care providers will contact those people in receipt of care and their families in advance.”

The EHSCP is carrying out individual risk assessments and is reviewing the care normally provided to people in their own homes to establish ways of continuing to provide safe and essential care to those who need it most while the system is experiencing pressure.  The HSCP is working closely with City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian to address the risk and impact of these pressures on the whole heath and care system.

It is working with in-house staff and external providers to prioritise people with the highest need and those most at risk.

Ms Proctor added: “A number of actions are being taken to ensure that safety, quality care and wellbeing of our hard-working staff remain the foremost priority.

“We have looked across all of our community facilities to see if there are different ways of delivering care or amalgamating services that would also allow us to release more staffing.

“When we discuss home visits with people receiving care and their families, we will tell them if services are to be affected and where appropriate families may also be asked if they can provide support.

“Finally, we welcome the announcement of additional funding for health and social care from the Health Minister earlier today and will look at the detail of what this means so that we can make the best possible use of Edinburgh’s allocation to help us deliver the best possible care to our citizens in the current difficult circumstances.”