2021/22 has been another challenging year for the health and social care sector throughout Scotland and this has been felt across our services in Edinburgh.
Despite the success of the vaccine rollout, high infection rates and ongoing restrictions meant the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect our work during 2021/22. System pressures arising from staff shortages, increasing demand from residents with increasingly complex needs, as well as ongoing difficulties in recruitment have made for a demanding year, but our frontline staff have once again delivered exceptional services to our most vulnerable residents.
Using additional funding provided by the Scottish Government (SG) to alleviate system pressures, we have taken several measures to respond to these ongoing pressures. A programme of investment was agreed, framed to reflect the priority areas identified by the SG as well as supporting sustainability beyond the immediate crisis. This included investment in interim care beds, initiatives to increase capacity within the care at home sector, and multi-disciplinary team working.
In this Annual Performance Report for 2021/22, we outline our challenges and achievements this year as well as our progress over the last year against the six Strategic Priorities in our Strategic Plan 2019-22, and against the Scottish Government’s National Health and Wellbeing Outcomes and associated indicators.
Despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic and system pressures, we continued to deliver on our Transformation programme. The Edinburgh Pact, which redefines our relationship with Edinburgh residents and will influence future policy direction through our Community Mobilisation Programme, was launched in 2021/22. The Edinburgh Wellbeing Pact’s ‘More Good Days’ is resonating across the city, creating a catalyst for change. The rollout of Three Conversations continues, with teams in all four localities now using the approach, which recognises that people are the experts in their own lives. We also made significant progress with our redesign of bed-based services across the city, and are continuing to implement Home First, which aims to better support people to remain at home or in a homely setting rather than being admitted to hospital.
Overarching it all, our inaugural workforce strategy, ‘Working Together’, was approved by the EIJB in February 2022 and aims to ensure that we have skilled and capable staff that can deliver our vision of ‘a caring, healthier and safer Edinburgh’.
Trend comparison of our performance remains difficult because of the extraordinary impact of the pandemic but we continued to perform well in some areas of the national indicators (NI) and faced challenges in relation to others. Of the 18 national indicators reported, we are in line with or compare favourably to the Scottish average in ten indicators and are closing the gap in a further four of the indicators. The main area of difference with the Scottish average is for delayed discharges (NI19), which have been affected by the significant issues with social care capacity felt across the country, but particularly acutely in Edinburgh due to the demographics of the city. There was, however, a 12% drop in the rate of emergency readmissions to hospital within 28 days to below 2019/20 levels; and in line with our Home First approach, more adults with intensive care needs received care at home.
As ever, our thanks go to all our staff and partners for their dedication and hard work during the year, and to the unpaid carers that provide vital care and support to our most vulnerable citizens.
Having decided not to stand for re-election at the Council elections in May, Councillor Ricky Henderson was succeeded as Chair of the Integration Joint Board by Councillor Tim Pogson. We thank Ricky for his work as Chair and look forward to working with Tim over the next two years.
Councillor Tim Pogson, Chair Judith Proctor, Chief Officer
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