First Minister returns to community hospital

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon  chats with Jimmy King & Jim Langley in the Day Room Lounge.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon chats with Jimmy King & Jim Langley in the Day Room Lounge.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Midlothian Community Hospital on Monday to announce a health and social care integration cash boost.

An extra £107 million will be invested into health and social care partnerships which bring together NHS and local council care services for patients, in particular the elderly, and reduce the need for them to go into hospital for treatment.

The First Minister discussed the investment during a visit to the hospital in Bonnyrigg, which she opened in 2011. It is a community-based facility providing intermediate care with a particular focus on frailty and dementia. The First Minister met patients receiving physiotherapy at the purpose-built gym and older people attending a day centre at the hospital.

She said: “Integration is one of the most ambitious programmes of work this Government has ever undertaken and one which we believe will deliver health and social care services that work more efficiently, putting people at the very heart of treatment decisions.

“That is why this £107m additional funding across Scotland is so important.

“Not only does it ensure that patients can receive more treatment in their communities where we know they are more comfortable, but it also reduces demand for acute hospital usage by reducing avoidable admissions, lengths of stay and delayed discharges.

“Our social care system is world renowned and envied across the UK and, as a shared priority between the Scottish Government and local government, spend on this has been protected in Scotland. This additional funding maintains that for 2017/18.

“This is in direct contrast to the situation in England and Wales where six consecutive years of cuts to local authority budgets have seen 26 per cent fewer people get the help they need. Across Edinburgh and the Lothians, funding for integrated health and social care has now topped £1 billion for next year which yet again enforces this government’s focus on ensuring health care remains a priority for the future.”

Director of adult health and social care in Midlothian, Eibhlin McHugh said: “The Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership’s vision is that people will lead longer and healthier lives by getting the right advice, care, and support, in the right place, at the right time.

“We’re delighted to hear of the extra funding as our share of that £107 million will help us achieve those aims.”