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Health and social care crisis slowly improving

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Front
Health and social care crisis slowly improving

THE delayed discharges crisis that has plagued the region for years is slowly improving, according to health chiefs.

The number of people being held up in hospital while care packages are arranged is gradually declining, and elderly patients are also being moved into care homes more quickly.

That was the update this week from Stephanie Mottram, interim manager for Dumfries and Galloway’s community health and social care partnership.

She was asked by councillors about delayed discharges and the new community waiting times team (CWTT) that has been set up to tackle the problem.

Castle Douglas and Crocketford Councillor Pauline Drysdale said: “The delayed discharges, as we know, is a huge problem and is putting the greatest demand on health and social care at present.

“There was going to be a community waiting times team integrated, and that would include care home and care at home packages.

“I’m quite aware that’s still probably being integrated, but can you give us a little update about how that’s going? Are you improving the situation at all?”

Stephanie Mottram replied: “I’m not going to sit here and tell you it’s not a challenge, it absolutely is in terms of delays in hospital.

“As we all know, as hospital is a great place for your treatment and medical care, it’s not a place where we want people being delayed when they’re ready to go home.

“With delayed discharges we’re starting to see a sustained drop in our standard delays, which is good news.

“At this point in time we’re sitting with 92 delayed discharges across the region in all of our hospital settings.

“Within our cottage hospitals, interestingly, there’s currently 52 people who are classed as a delayed discharge.

“So, it’s not only impacting on DGRI in terms of the pressures on the beds, but for our cottage hospital beds as well.”

Since the introduction of the community waiting times team two months ago, work has been done to streamline the health and social care and help patients find the right destination sooner, whether that’s returning home with a care package or moving to a suitable care facility.

Stephanie Mottram said: “Previously we had been sitting with up to 40 people back in December waiting on a package of care.

“Today that number is down to 22. So there’s been a considerable amount of work done with the community waiting times to keep an eye on people.”

She added: “Where I think it has made a significant difference is with people who need to go into a care home. We’re able to monitor people on that pathway and support them into their care home quickly as we’ve got systems in place to do that.

“So we’re now starting to see a real difference in the time going from hospital into a care home.”

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