EXTREME measures have been brought in to tackle ‘stored up’ problems in the NHS.
Health bosses have this week cancelled some elective clinical procedures, doubled up beds in single rooms, appealed for people to take up care jobs and even asked families to help look after their loved ones.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway chiefs say the level of pressure has never been seen before in the region, with increased demand and staffing shortages exacerbated by the pandemic, and have asked for understanding from the public to ‘appreciate the enormity of the challenge’ facing the health and social care system.
Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership chief officer Julie White said: “I have never seen health and social care systems in our region under so much pressure, and unfortunately this level of pressure may continue for some time to come.
“We really want everyone to have an insight and understanding as to just how challenging things have become through a combination of factors fuelled further by the pandemic.
“Our responsibility is to the people of Dumfries and Galloway, and whilst the situation remains extremely challenging
we are investing significantly in order to address the workforce challenges in particular to ensure that we are in the best position to meet people’s needs.”
Staff are now being forced try to manage the current situation, while facing a winter of further high demand.
In a series of acute actions, clinical procedures have been ‘scaled back’ for the next two weeks – though urgent surgeries and cancer procedures will continue to go ahead.
Extra beds are being squeezed into some of DGRI’s single-occupant rooms to maximise capacity.
A spokesman for the health and social care partnerships has said this will be ‘in extremis’ and in a limited number of rooms.
Furthermore, capacity at cottage hospitals is to be extended, as staffing allows.
This follows moved at the end of last week which saw Annan cottage hospital take on an additional three patients, despite being at capacity.
And also, people will be placed in alternative NHS and care facilities whilst awaiting support in their own homes.
To further relieve pressure, families are also being asked to consider how they can help in the care of their loved ones.
In an unprecedented plea, an NHS spokesman said: “An invitation is being extended to help maximise the provision of treatment and care.
“Anyone with a loved one requiring care who can offer help or suggestions as to how we best meet the needs of their loved one is encouraged to take up a conversation with that person’s social work representative.”