Five-year wait for care package branded 'disgraceful and shocking'

The council said that the wait was for a 'small package of housing support where the individual had specific needs'.

Five-year wait for care package branded ‘disgraceful and shocking’ by Scottish Conservatives iStock

The Scottish Government has been accused of “leaving vulnerable patients to suffer” after figures revealed how one person waited almost five years for a care package to be put in place.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information by the Scottish Conservatives showed how one person in Edinburgh waited 1,775 days before a care package was put in place in 2022.

The party’s social care spokesman Craig Hoy branded it “disgraceful and shocking”.

Edinburgh City Council told the Tories that the wait was for a “small package of housing support where the individual had specific needs that made finding appropriate care more difficult”.

In Argyll and Bute, another person waited a total of 1,071 days – nearly three years – before their package of care was in place in 2021.

In the Fife Council area, someone waited 1,385 days for a care package which was put in place in 2019, followed by another resident waiting 1,370 days until the following year, with someone else waiting 1,067 days until 2021.

Hoy accused health secretary Humza Yousaf of “leaving vulnerable patients to suffer”, adding that the long waits showed social care services were “in crisis”.

His comments came as he challenged the Scottish Government to abandon its plans to establish a National Care Service.

He said: “These disgraceful and shocking new statistics uncovered by the Scottish Conservatives show how the SNP health secretary is leaving vulnerable patients to suffer.

“Humza Yousaf and successive SNP ministers responsible for Scotland’s social care services have been handing a raw deal to local authorities and care providers for far too long.

“They cannot hide behind the pandemic as an excuse for the pressure local authorities are under.

“It is utterly shameful that patients are waiting years for appropriate care packages to be put in place.”

Hoy insisted: “These overwhelming failures should finally make the SNP Government do the right thing and drop their illogical and reckless plans to centralise care provision through their National Care Service.

“That will only take further resources away from local care providers, who understand patients’ needs and are best placed to deliver them.”

Local government leaders and trade unions have also voiced concerns about the new National Care Service – which Scottish ministers insist will be the most significant change in public services since the foundation of the NHS in the wake of the Second World War.

Hoy added: “SNP ministers cannot continue to press ahead with these plans and should respond to these findings from the Scottish Conservatives by finally U-turning and ditching their National Care Service.”

Yousaf said: “Being at home or in a community setting is in the best interests of anyone who no longer has any clinical need to be in hospital.

“We work closely with health and social care partnerships to reduce delays in getting people to the most suitable place, ensuring people are cared for in the right setting and beds are there for those who need them.”

The Health Secretary added: “In common with health services across the UK and globally, NHS Scotland is working under significant pressure and the pandemic continues to affect services.

“Social Care has been hit by a triple whammy of Brexit, which has impacted staffing, the pandemic and high energy and inflation costs, all putting significant pressure on the sector.

“Investment this year to help address delays, includes £124m to enhance care at home, £200m to increase the hourly rate of pay to £10.50, £20m to support interim care arrangements and £40m to enhance multi-disciplinary teams.

“Funding is also being used to rapidly scale up Hospital at Home services with a further £3.6m made available in the 2022-23 budget to reduce acute admissions and support timely discharge, taking the total investment to over £8m.”