Extreme pressures on our care services

In recent days we have seen the highest rates of coronavirus infections recorded.  Covid-19 continues to adversely affect the population of East Ayrshire. 

For critical community health and care services, there is increasing demand and staffing is under extreme pressure.

Craig McArthur, Director of East Ayrshire Health and Social Care partnership, explains:

“The vaccination and testing programmes have been very successful locally. But Covid-19 is continuing to have an impact on our lives. It is welcome that many restrictions can be relaxed, but community transmission levels are challenging the delivery of health and social care.

“It is important that our communities are aware of the pressures we are experiencing right now and continue to expect over the coming weeks.

“Staff have been working relentlessly since the start of this pandemic to deliver vital care and support. The health and social care workforce goes above and beyond the job description every day in caring for residents.

“In the last 18 months, our communities have shown their appreciation for the health and care workforce and have rallied to support us with direct offers of help, kindness and messages of goodwill. I want to thank everyone for that – our workforce, trade union partners and citizens.

“At present our community services – care at home, care homes, community nursing, allied health professional, community hospital and primary care – are seeing increased demand and staffing pressure.  Our services are extremely stretched. In this context we cannot deliver services as we would wish.  And as a result we are having to prioritise the most urgent needs.

“I understand how difficult this is for individuals and families and for our teams who always want to deliver to the highest standards.

“As Director of EAHSCP I’m reaching out to the people of East Ayrshire for some understanding and patience for our teams who are working extremely hard to deliver support to our most vulnerable residents.

“We’re asking for your help again now to manage these demands. Please think about what the right support is for you.  Choose self-care, home remedy medicines, NHS Inform or the pharmacy. Only use the Emergency Department for emergencies. If you need to speak to someone you can contact your GP practice during normal hours or call NHS 24 on 111 at any time. If you think you need to visit A&E but it’s not life threatening you can phone NHS 24 on 111 day or night. If it’s a life threatening emergency you should phone 999 or go directly to A&E.

"If you can help support a relative or neighbour with social care needs, please do so. Where individuals need critical support they will receive it. For others waiting times for support may be longer. Workers will discuss this honestly with you. 

“I hope that the situation will improve quickly, in the meantime I’m asking for patience and understanding.

“Finally, we all need to continue to follow the public health advice to stay safe and protect others by:

  • wearing face coverings;
  • getting vaccinated when offered;
  • meeting outside and keeping a distance from others;
  • cleaning your hands and surfaces often;
  • getting a test and staying at home if you have symptoms;
  • taking regular tests if you don’t have symptoms;
  • using the Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland apps; and
  • working from home, or do a mixture of home and office working if you can."