Frail Scots miss out on basic care in national staffing crisis

The report found it was not always possible to ensure that all scheduled care visits were providedThe report found it was not always possible to ensure that all scheduled care visits were provided
The report found it was not always possible to ensure that all scheduled care visits were provided
Scotland's leading support group for the elderly has warned of a national crisis in the care sector following reports that patients in parts of the country are being left without food, water and essential medicines.

Age Scotland issued the warning after minutes from an emergency meeting called last week by Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) reportedly revealed that a shortage of care workers had left those dependent on help with basic needs at “high risk”.

The meeting heard that “the state of home care is critical” in the Oban area, where care provided has fallen short by more than 6,000 hours this year.

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The HSCP report is said to have stated: “It is not always possible to ensure all scheduled visits are provided, resulting in missed medication, no personal care being provided, clients left in bed for prolonged periods of time and clients going without food or fluids for prolonged periods of time.”

Senior figures at Age Scotland described the report’s findings as “deeply concerning” and said they highlighted a national staffing problem in the care sector.

The charity has called for Argyll and Bute HSCP to provide reassurances that the situation is not repeated in future.

An Age Scotland spokesman also stressed that Argyll and Bute was not the only HSCP struggling to fulfil care obligations. “The reality is that a number of problems have arisen in ensuring older people get proper care when and where they need it, caused by a lack of staff,” he said.

“There are national issues at play here. It’s quite clear there are real problems attracting people into the care sector.

“That means roles have to be made more attractive to more people, with staff not only recruited but retained.

“These are lifeline services and they have to be staffed properly. Given potential concerns that come along with things like Brexit, this is a situation our national agencies must deal with as a matter of urgency.”

The criticisms come not long after Scotland’s care watchdog issued a damning report into health and social work services for older people in Edinburgh’s HSCP.

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A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This year an extra £107 million will transfer from the NHS to health and social care partnerships to ensure more people are able to be cared for safely in their own homes and avoid preventable admissions to hospital.

“Integration is one of the most ambitious programmes of work this government has ever undertaken, and one which we believe will deliver health and social care services that work more efficiently, putting people at the very heart of treatment decisions.”

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