Challenge of delays in leaving hospital

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The single biggest change to health and social care across the Scottish Borders since the formation of the NHS in 1948 is underway in the Borders.

It has brought NHS Borders and council’s social work staff together under one organisation, the Scottish Borders Health and Social Care Partnership, to provide community health services, adult social care services, health visiting, community dental services, sexual health services and unscheduled care.

The partnership officially started in April last year and as it approaches it’s first anniversary an inspection team is currently in the region speaking to both health and social care teams and their inspection report will be made public at a later date.

An important area where both NHS and social care staff have needed to co-ordinate services is discharging people from hospital, often they can only leave when a care package is in place to look after them when they get home.

When asked how the partnership has been going so far Councillor Frances Renton told Coldstream and District Community Council last week: “There are two different cultures coming together and obviously there is extra money coming from the Scottish Government for adult social care.

“There are still a few challenges such as delayed discharge. There are some delays that are waiting for big care packages to be finalised but care services, particularly in Berwickshire, are up to scratch.

“SB Care are doing well, trying to accommodate everyone. We didn’t expect in the first six months that we would have pick up additional care packages but to be fair to the staff they stepped up to the plate. In Berwickshire we seem to have a full compliment of home care staff.”

A spokesperson for the partnership said: “In partnership with home care providers, SBC continues to support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities in their own homes.

“From time to time we need to work with those providers to change the pattern of their work and one of our providers reduced the number of hours they were able to deliver. We are grateful to those partners who step up and support people when services change. This includes SB Cares who are to be commended for the way in which they secure and transfer care and support for people who are affected.”

In a joint update at the end of last year by Tracey Logan chief executive of Scottish Borders Council and Jane Davidson, chief executive of NHS Borders, they said: “We recognise there is still much to do to as part of health and social care integration to achieve our vision which is to ‘work together for the best possible health and wellbeing in our communities’.

“However, we continue to work hard to improve the outcomes for the people of the Borders every day. That is down to the efforts and commitment of our staff and partners, and we would like to thank each and every one of you.”