Balancing people's needs, providing essential care and keeping everyone safe
“Many people will already be aware of the pressures facing health and social care services across Scotland. It means that we simply are unable to provide some of the care that we would normally."
Iain Gorman, Head of Operations, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership
A range of short-term measures are being introduced in health and social care partnerships across Lothian to cope with increasing pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures are designed to balance people's needs, provide essential care and keep everyone safe.
In a picture replicated across the country, social care services and providers in East Lothian are experiencing rising demand for services and significant staffing pressures caused by higher than normal sickness levels and staff who are self-isolating, coupled with difficulties in recruiting to social care roles.
It means that care packages normally provided for people in their own homes may be affected or reduced within coming weeks.
Iain Gorman, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) Head of Operations said:
“This is an unprecedented situation and we apologise to all of the patients and families affected.
“Many people will already be aware of the pressures facing health and social care services across Scotland. It means that we simply are unable to provide some of the care that we would normally.
“If services are to be affected or reduced during a home visit or a member of staff cannot visit, they will contact people and their families in advance.”
ELHSCP has carried out individual risk assessments and reviewed 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.
They have worked with in-house staff and external providers to prioritise people with the highest need and at those most at risk.
Mr Gorman added:
“A number of actions are being taken to ensure that safety of service users as well as the wellbeing of hard-working staff remain the foremost priorities.
“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 the services they receive will be affected and where appropriate families may also be asked if they can provide support.”
Vigorous ongoing recruitment programmes are underway and the workforce is being deployed flexibly to support social care. The level of service provided will also be closely monitored to ensure a normal service can resume as quickly as possible as community infection levels settle.