I have recently highlighted official figures that show the pressure on treating older people in the Grampian region.
The Scottish Health and Wellbeing profiles show that the percentage of over 65s being treated at home is significantly worse than the national average. This statistic allied to high levels of bed blocking cause huge problems for the health service and show that more investment is needed in health and social care from the Scottish Government.
The recent issues at NHS Grampian show an NHS in crisis which affects older people proportionately more than the rest of the population. The difficulty in getting GP appointments, long waits in A&E and delayed discharge are unfair on pensioners in particular.
The crisis in the NHS is hitting older people even harder that the overall population. Older people are more likely to use NHS services from GP’s and primary care to acute and social care. All of these services have been chronically underfunded by the SNP and older people have been failed by this Government.
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.
Labour introduced free personal care for our older people but the systematic underfunding by government has put services under huge pressure. The number of older people in the North East is due to grow in the coming years and without proper investment the current crisis will turn into a disaster.
That is why it is important that the Scottish Government are pushed on a fair deal for NHS Grampian so that measures can be taken to address problems like these and the many other issues we have witnessed in waiting times and staff recruitment. We have a new Chief Executive at NHS Grampian in Malcom Wright which is to be welcomed however he must now be supported by the appropriate investment or he will face many of the problems his predecessors have. For these reasons and for the sake of patient care, I will continue to make the case that our NHS needs better resourcing and more support from the SNP Government in Edinburgh.