One of Scotland’s largest city councils is proposing to slash £3 million from its health and social care budget despite being the subject of a damning report into the service it provides.
Edinburgh City Council set out the savings as part of its revenue budget for 2018-19.
The cuts come in the midst of a crisis in the city, with 1,836 people still waiting to be assessed for care provision, including 700 who have not yet received care packages and 169 people delayed in hospital.
A scathing Care Inspectorate investigation last May into the quality of provision found five out of nine factors of care that were rated “unsatisfactory” or “weak” while the projected deficit for health and social care costs rose to £9m in September.
This comes as health secretary Shona Robison last week slammed delays in securing care packages for patients across the region, saying council and NHS Lothian chiefs are a “considerable distance” from meeting their target.
The savings including £1.1m relating to disability day services, discretionary expenditure and legal services.
Planned improvements targeted to save money are a roll out of telecare services and reducing reliance on care at home and support services. Staff numbers, care charges and services that include homecare and grants are also under review, as are supplies and procurement.
Scottish Greens councillor Melanie Main said the council and NHS Lothian were “simply robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
She added: “The £3m cut is part of a bigger package of savings of £24 which the council needs to make next year. With that scale of shortfall it is hard to see any service area untouched.
“However, there is so much pressure on the health and social care budget and so much unmet need that there is a big risk savings targets can’t be met.
“The £3m saving itself is simply the recycling of a cut that was supposed to happen earlier. So, once again, it suggests health and social care budgets are chronically under-funded and need action at national level. Without action the council and NHS Lothian are simply robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
The interim chief officer of the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, Michelle Miller, has stated the health and social care system is underfunded for the level of need expressed.
Shadow health secretary, Miles Briggs said: “Given the pressures being faced by health and social care, the proposed cuts are unrealistic and arguably unachievable. We should be ensuring actions are being taken to make the jobs of social care professionals more manageable, not more difficult.”