Seven-day services aimed at preventing Angus mental health inpatient admissions could be in place within months, care chiefs have said.
Angus Integration Joint Board members have been told a key appointment is set to be made within weeks in a bid to plug a local gap.
It comes after a Healthcare Improvement Scotland study in July highlighted management issues as a “significant concern” in mental health provision across Tayside.
It also criticised inequalities across Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross which meant some mental health patients were waiting up to three months for a routine assessment, while others were seen within a fortnight.
The HIS report said it did not believe mental health patients were always getting the right care in the right place and at the right time.
In response to a query from Kirriemuir councillor Julie Bell, Angus Health and Social Care Partnership head of mental health services Bill Troup said it was hoped to have the seven-day community team provision in place soon to avoid local people having to be admitted.
A permanent psychiatrist and three locum psychiatrists would be part of the programme.
“To make it safe, it does need robust medical leadership. I am hoping to make an appointment in the next few weeks,” said Mr Troup.
He told the board the strains of the Covid-19 crisis on people’s mental wellbeing were expected to bring an increase in demand on services.
“So far we feel we have the right types of services, but what they need is the capacity to deal with an increase in volume,” added Mr Troup.
The IJB also heard concerns are emerging around the exodus of large numbers of senior or long-serving staff burned out by the pressures of dealing with the pandemic.
Mr Troup said: “Like many public sector providers, Angus HSCP has an ageing workforce, 47% of our staff are aged over 50.”
Some posts are already sitting vacant for up to two years and the IJB heard there was a reliance on agency staff or overtime to maintain safe staffing levels.
Mr Troup also described a “significant lack of clarity, especially for our independent sector, regarding the workforce implications linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
IJB members approved a three-year strategy which will include delivery of the first annual workforce implementation plan by October this year.