Inspectors report ‘positive progress’ in delivery of care services for older people in Edinburgh

Progress has been made on meeting requirements to improve services for older people in the City of Edinburgh, inspectors have said.

It follows an inspection in 2017 which found weaknesses in how well services achieved good personal outcomes for older people and their unpaid carers.

Inspectors from the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland have now published the findings of their latest review which focused specifically on the areas for improvement identified in the original inspection in 2017.

Inspectors found the City of Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership had driven forward a change agenda to address the original areas for improvement. The review found the partnership had invested resources to progress strategic planning, which had previously lacked vision, direction, and pace and the partnership demonstrated good progress against most of the original recommendations for improvement.

They noted that: “The focus on service redesign and the establishment of the Transformation Programme for all adult care and support was a positive step.

“There was also evidence of a better resourced approach to engagement and consultation. The temporary appointment of project management staff helped to increase the pace of progress with strategic planning. Inspectors emphasised the importance of continuing investment in the Transformation Programme to ensure changes are sustained.

While the inspectors report on the improvements made by the City of Edinburgh, they also note the pressures on services at this time adding: “There continue to be significant operational pressures, in part because of the challenges brought about by the pandemic” and further that “the ability to sustain progress in assessment and provision of new and existing services has been acknowledged by the partnership as an area of significant risk.”

“The partnership is acutely aware of these pressures and is working with NHS Lothian and City of Edinburgh Council to identify and manage these and the associated risks.”

Peter Macleod chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “It is important to acknowledge that since we last reviewed progress in 2018, senior leaders in the partnership have driven forward a change agenda. Yet, there remain important areas which require further work and resources to support on-going improvement.

“Both the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland recognise that there are extreme national pressures in health and social care currently. There has been a candid acknowledgement by the partnership that there continue to be ongoing challenges, especially around service delivery and building a sustainable workforce. Crucially, there needs to be sustained improvement in overall operational performance.”

Robbie Pearson, Chief Executive of Healthcare Improvement Scotland, said: “By working across the full range of stakeholders the partnership successfully extended the scope and range of measures available to improve early intervention and prevention across the partnership.

“This positive progress demonstrated the application of transformative approaches to deliver on strategic intention. The partnership should ensure that quality assurance approaches are fully integrated with effective mechanisms put in place to provide assurance that other areas identified for improvement are actioned and learning is shared.”

This review was carried out between January and September 2021 and can be downloaded by clicking here.

Picture (c) Jane Barlow / PA.