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‘More money needed to tackle north-east hospital bed blocking’

Richard Baker
Richard Baker

Labour MSP Richard Baker has warned that a lack of proper investment in care for older people services in Grampian would turn the current crisis into a “disaster”.

The north-east politician highlighted the Grampian Health and Wellbeing Summary report which stated that 30.2% of people with high levels of care needs in the region were looked after at home in comparison to the national average of 34.7%.

Mr Baker said the statistic was allied to high levels of bed blocking and more investment was needed in health and social care from the Scottish Government.

He added that the difficulty in getting GP appointments, long waits in A&E and delayed discharge were unfair on pensioners.

NHS Grampian said it was working hard with local authorities to make improvements but insisted there were no “simple fixes”.

A spokesman for Health Secretary Shona Robinson accused the MSP of hypocrisy because his party colleagues on Aberdeen City Council have said that the situation was largely down to staff recruitment problems, not money.

Mr Baker said: “These figures show that too few older people with complex care needs are being able to access care at home which is bad for the NHS and bad for patients too.

“The merger of health and social care needs to be backed by significant new money.

“The number of older people in Aberdeen is due to grow in the coming years and without proper investment the current crisis will turn into a disaster.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian acknowledged that bed blocking was “deeply frustrating” for patients and their families.

“All three of our partnership areas – city, shire and Moray – have joint groups where both council and NHS staff work side by side to reduce the number of people who are delayed in hospital,” she added.

“We share a very strong belief that there are no simple fixes to this challenge and improvements will take time to implement”

Ms Robison’s spokesman said Scotland’s health budget was at a record £12billion a year.

He added that NHS Grampian would receive an additional £2.74million this year to tackle delayed discharges.

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