Improving community rehab is crucial to addressing Scotland’s NHS crisis, says CSP

The Scottish government has announced urgent measures to address the pressures being faced by the NHS.

Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced measures to ease pressure on NHS hospitals to address the current crisis. She confirmed that Humza Yousaf, Scottish cabinet secretary for health, is set to announce further detail on measures to reduce hospital admissions and speed up discharge.

The measures include:

  • NHS 24 staffing levels will increase further in the coming weeks while accelerating other strands of work such as its app and self-help guides.
  • The government will explore ways to maximise primary care capacity by considering examples such as NHS Lanarkshire opening practices on Saturdays.
  • On delayed discharge, the FM said health and social care partnerships would receive additional funding which would be confirmed in the Scottish parliament. 

Responding to the Scottish government announcement, Kenryck Lloyd-Jones, CSP Public affairs and policy manager for Scotland, said solving the current crisis, and putting the service on a stable footing, will take time. He said, 'the CSP welcomes measures to improve bed capacity in social care and access to primary care, and increase NHS 24 staffing. But there is no quick fix to the current crisis in the face of desperate staff shortages. 

What must be recognised is that community rehabilitation and recovery services are vital to addressing these challenges, by enabling early discharge from hospital and preventing further hospital admissions. 

'Whether people are discharged to a bed in social care or with a home care package, they require adequate and timely rehabilitation services. 

'Allied health professionals are essential for rehabilitation, and we hope the Scottish government’s soon to be published review will produce a workforce plan for the future. The way out of this crisis is through effective community rehabilitation services to prevent and reduce hospital admissions, ensure timely discharge from hospitals and reduce reliance on social care.'

The move by the Scottish Government comes at the same time the health secretary of the NHS in England, Steve Barclay, announced £200m to buy extra bed capacity in non-hospital settings to help discharge patients.

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