Massive pressures faced by region's health and social care
UNPRECEDENTED pressures are being faced by the region’s health and social care system – in line with the rest of Scotland, and the UK as a whole.
Julie White is Chief Officer of Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, and she said: “The pressures are now greater than seen during the peak of the COVID pandemic.
“They are being driven by a combination of factors, including very high rates of flu and other respiratory illness currently circulating within communities – resulting in high numbers of vulnerable people requiring immediate medical care.
“The health and social care system is also supporting many older and vulnerable individuals who have multiple, complex needs that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“We are having to make day by day decisions on our capacity to deliver planned surgery. This is distressing for patients who receive late notice cancellation but reflects the prioritisation of those with the most immediate and pressing need.
“Similarly, we are exploring options to facilitate the accelerated discharge of patients. Currently, a very significant proportion of hospital staff are supporting patients who no longer have a need for further medical treatment or rehabilitation.
“It is essential that we do everything we can to return these individuals home or to a homely setting in order that we are able to provide the support to those most unwell patients – where immediate help can potentially be life-saving.
“We are appreciative of all support in this, particularly from all families and the thousands of Carers who already contribute so much to the sustainability of health and social care delivery.
“If you are able to think of ways in which you can support a loved one to get home from hospital now they have no further medical need to be there, please do get in touch with them and their clinicians.
“At this very challenging time, our priority has to be to minimise the risk of harm to individuals.
“Today, well over 100 people are in hospital beds whose needs could be better met at home or in a homely setting, important operations are being cancelled and our Emergency Departments are under significant strain. Our GP practices, mental health teams and community-based health and social care teams are also experiencing unprecedented demands.
“To be clear, the primary consideration here is not facilities or equipment, but having the necessary volumes of staffing who have the skill and capacity to provide treatment and care to those in most urgent need.
“At this time, difficult decisions will need to be taken to ensure our staff can help meet the most urgent need and to ensure that our hospital has the capacity to deal with the next emergency attendance.
“We will keep you informed of this position and the difficult decisions which need to be taken to deal with this unprecedented level of pressure. It is likely that these pressures will persist in line with the traditional flu season and we are unlikely to see significant improvement for some weeks.”