Home for Christmas as solution is found to care staff shortage

Gill and John Brocklehurst
Gill and John Brocklehurst

A Cupar family is celebrating probably the best Christmas present it could have hoped for, after several weeks of healthcare wrangling.

John Brocklehurst, who has multiple sclerosis, was due this week to return home from hospital, after a battle to secure an arrangement for home care finally appeared to have been won.

Fife Council’s home and social care services had struggled to provide the recommended package because of a shortage of staff – even though it supported the move and funding had been identified.

Mr Brocklehurst (46) had been hospitalised at Ninewells in Dundee after suffering a seizure in October, and his home care needs had been revised after an assessment. Experts recommended that one half-hour visit a day by a single carer be extended to four visits a day by two carers.

However, a lack of resources stalled the project, keeping John in hospital while his wife Gill and two teenage children grew more frustrated.

Gill (47) had commented generally that the proposed Cupar North development, if it brought a bigger population into the area, would put an intolerable strain on a social care system which already could not cope.

She was delighted that John’s own situation had been remedied but said it shone a light on a major problem which seemed bound to affect others.

“We have been fortunate,” she said. “As a family, we’re happy to know he will be back at home for Christmas. But I don’t understand why there’s a problem employing staff.”