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."
All the results for the 2022 Highland Council election have been declared. They are as follows: Independent - 21 Scottish Conservative and Unionist - 10 Scottish Green Party - 4 Scottish Labour Party - 2 Scottish Liberal Democrats - 15 Scottish National Party (SNP) - 22 Total elected 74 The first meeting of the new Council will be held on Thursday 26 May.
Postal votes are being opened every day but will not be counted until Friday 6th May along with the votes cast at polling stations. So far Thurso and West Caithness have returned 1947 out of 3049 issued amounting to 63.86% Meanwhile Wick and East Caithness have returned 1791 out of 3111 - 57.57%.
The Highland Council is inviting individuals, community groups and local businesses in Thurso to have their say on determining how the historic centre of the town is managed in the future. Following the success of an event held at the end of March, the Council will be hosting another public drop-in session at the start of May to highlight the draft Thurso Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan and encourage input and feedback from the local community.
The search is on for a new Youth Convener to champion the cause of young people in the Highlands. The Highland Youth Convener is a sounding board for youth issues in the Highlands and has a direct line into policy makers and decision takers.
The Highland Council and their development partners Hub North Scotland (Wick) ltd have agreed that reinstatement works for a section of wall cladding for the games hall at Wick Community Campus will be carried out during the coming summer holiday period. This is to minimise disruption to the building users, in particular pupils at Wick High School, who are currently undergoing national exams until June.
Highland Council Trading Standards are warning unsuspecting members of the public to be on their guard and not fall victim to a COVID-19 contact tracing text scam that is currently in circulation. The scam involves an unsolicited text message from ‘TestNTrace' advising the recipient that they have been a close contact of someone who has contracted the Omicron variant.
New funding has been secured for the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project to create innovative and interactive digital content showcasing people's stories of the region. The grant comes from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF), led by NatureScot and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Sponsorship and support for the awards ceremony was provided by TUSKER and the Inverness Common Good Fund. The Council extends its thanks to both for making last week's celebration possible.
The Highland Council is embracing the climate change agenda by increasing the amount of set aside and wildlife corridors across the area. In 2019, Highland Council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency and have committed to being a low carbon Highlands by 2025.
With less than two weeks until the voter registration deadline for local elections in May, the Electoral Registration Officer for Highland & Western Isles urges residents to make sure they are registered in time. Anyone living in Scotland who will be 16 or over on 5 May, can register to vote in these elections.