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Prioritising Essential Social Care Services

14th January 2022

Maximising efforts to protect and maintain critical and essential services.

Support for social care is to be intensified as a national priority alongside the NHS and emergency services, as staffing pressures and increased demand reflect the extent and nature of the spread and effect of Omicron.

As a result of staffing availability due to Covid, the Scottish Government and COSLA, working with local partners across the public services in Scotland, have agreed a joint approach to maximise social care support to ensure people receive the care they need, dignity and human rights are upheld, and to avoid further pressure falling on the NHS.

Some local public services report that pressure is very significant with some health and social care partnerships being asked to prioritise capacity and identify staff who can be deployed to sustain and maintain support for some of the most vulnerable people in society. This may mean some other services are temporarily paused or reduced to redeploy capacity and expertise.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:"In order to protect life preserving services, and protect the vulnerable, local authorities and public services will prioritise what they deliver in the weeks ahead as a result of staffing availability due to Covid. That may mean some services being closed for a period or operating on reduced hours or service levels. This will free up resources to make sure we can deliver core, essential services. As soon as demands and resources allow, any affected services will resume normal operation.

"People across public services and critical national infrastructure are working hard to keep essential services going. In a lot of cases they are already being asked to be flexible to cover for absent colleagues. I am grateful to everyone who is helping us through this difficult period. The Third Sector has a huge amount to offer while the private sector and employers can contribute, either by releasing staff who can help in this effort, or by supporting carers leave for family and friends who might need it.

“Local public services are delivering national priorities and programmes such as testing and vaccination programmes, delivering business grants, self-isolation grants and support, and much more. They have played a key role throughout the pandemic in supporting vulnerable people and key workers. That partnership between local and national government is, and will remain, essential."

COSLA President Alison Evison said:“Once again, no matter the ask, councils along with other public services will rise to the challenge in terms of providing an appropriate local response. As the sphere of government closest to our communities across Scotland, once more Local Government will play our part in the Covid response.

“Where pressures on staffing levels are identified, help and support for those most vulnerable as well as the life and limb services in our communities will be prioritised. As it has been throughout the pandemic, Health and Social Care and keeping people safe will be front and centre of local prioritisation."


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