Bid to stop respite care for three months in Fife is rejected

Nurse and elderly man spending time together --- Image by � Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/Corbis
Nurse and elderly man spending time together --- Image by � Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/Corbis

A plan to scrap respite care for three months has been binned after being unanimously rejected by Fife Health And Social Care Partnership.

At the meeting on Wednesday, a proposal was put forward to stop planned respite provision for adults from Januaryto March 2019, due to overspending in  health budgets.

By providing emergency respite care only, the partnership could save £100,000.

But the motion was rejected by all board members.

Board member Moira Adams told the committee: “We know the impact of stress on carers – these are people who volunteer and look after family or friends.

“We need to recognise the potential that removing that source of support would have further down the line, which may end up costing more hospital beds in emergency respite care.”

However, the board was reminded that there was still a £10m deficit to cover by the end of the financial year.

Overspending on GP prescriptions, home care and the out of hours GP services were costing the board the most money.

The board also heard that covering sickness and absence was costing around £27m this year.

Ian Dall, chair of Public Engagement Network, said: “Getting rid of respite for me is a big no no.

“The sickness and absence levels reported are ridiculous. We have been hearing about how there are projects to tackle these levels but the figures are no better than what they were in 2016.

“Whatever we’re doing ain’t working.

“Something needs to be done as the level of sickness and absence is twice the level of the normal population in the country.”

But board member Martin Black defended the workers, saying: “We should be supporting the staff instead of blaming people for being off sick.”