Oct 7 2011 by Craig Robertson, Dumfries Standard Friday
VULNERABLE and disabled patients are being released from hospital without the right plans for follow-up care.
And NHS chief executive John Burns has made a committment to tighten up procedures where people require aids or adaptations in their own home following treatment.
The gaps in the services provided by NHS and social work emerged at a meeting on Friday.
Councillors and NHS officials were discussing procedures relating to their aids and adaptations policy which provides grants for changes to patients’ homes where required due to a disability or illness.
Councillor Willie Scobie, who has been a long-term campaigner to have the policy improved, told Friday’s meeting of the community health and social care partnership: “On one occasion an individual waited 145 days for a home adaptation and that is far too long.
“The timeline is crucial here because they are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“There is also an issue of discrepancy in the period when a person receives a care plan to assess their needs.
“Some people are being discharged from hospital and have great difficulty accessing their homes.
“These are people who live in high rise flats.
“There are also people being released from hospitals, perhaps not in Dumfries and Galloway, and we are not sure if they have the correct care plan.
“They are being discharged to become prisoners in their own home because they live on the second floor.”
Mr Burns told the meeting that there was an issue with people from the area who are being released from hospitals in other parts of Scotland.
He said: “I know that there have been issues and we don’t get in right all the time.
“We should start discharge planning the minute an individual is admitted to hospital.
“What we should do is give a committment to take a look at some of these interfaces between health and social work and whether we join up as effective as we possibly can.”
He added: “There are challenges on patients coming back from hospitals in Glasgow or Lothian and I have given a committment that we will pick this up with these health boards.”