Long delays for care at home packages – which have seen Fifers in some areas wait for 108 days – need resolved before winter.
That’s the view of Alex Rowley MSP, who’s warned there will be problems and pressures ahead if more isn’t done now to address above-average waiting times in some areas of the Kingdom.
A report to Fife Council’s North East Fife area committee has highlighted the average waiting time for a new or amended care at home package in Fife is 77 days.
- South West Fife it’s 108 days.
- Levenmouth nearly 92 days.
- North East Fife 86 days.
Care at home service is care provided in your own home, allowing people to maintain their independence.
Care workers make regular visits to support people with day-to-day tasks in their own home and community, reducing the need for admission to care homes.
‘Action is needed’
Mr Rowley says he’ll raise the matter in the Scottish Parliament to get results as Fife Health and Social Care Partnership admitted this week high demand is having an impact.
Mr Rowley said: “This cannot be acceptable to our residents in any part of Fife but it is clear the Partnership is finding it more difficult to cover the rural areas for home care.
“In Kirkcaldy, the waiting time is 55 days – 53 days less than South West Fife.
“This needs to be addressed very quickly. Services across Fife should be delivered at the right time in the right place with the right care package.
“Kirkcaldy has the highest number of services users and hours allocated but have the lowest waiting time for new or amended care home package.
“So something is going in the right direction, we need other parts of Fife to follow.
Mr Rowley added he has heard issues with recruitment in the private sector due to lower wages and terms and conditions could be having an impact and added:
“Community care can’t be delivered on the cheap.”
“We then have the knock on impact on hospitals and bed blocking which is on the rise in Fife and families tell me their loved ones, who are medically fit to leave, are being told the waiting times are very high, so it’s not good.”
A meeting between the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, NHS Fife and Mr Rowley is scheduled for next month.
He added: “I will also be raising this directly with the Scottish Government and tabling a question in parliament on this issue as we need to resolve it before winter where the pressures on these services will grow.”
‘Challenges are being addressed’
Lynne Garvey, Head of Community Care Service, Fife Health & Social Care Partnership said high demand for services is having an impact on the ability to deliver care packages.
“It’s our priority to get people home when they are medically fit and this is monitored daily.
“We are implementing a number of steps to ensure people are transferred home and a timely discharge from hospital.”
Recruitment is also an issue being addressed, she added.
“Recruitment within our in-house service and external providers remains a challenge in Fife, and there is a recruitment drive in place to attract more home carers.
“Additional training may also be needed for some care roles and again this is being progressed. We will continue to work with partners and private providers and test different models to optimise person-centred care.”