Care at Home Services set to increase in Forth Valley

With the number of people aged over 75 set to almost double in Forth Valley by 2035, Health Secretary Alex Neil has said caring for older people at home will be vital to ease the pressure on Scotland’s health and social care services.

Mr Neil was speaking as a new Bill was published to ensure that health and social care systems work together effectively to improve care in the community. The Health Secretary said that the joined up approach was already working well in some areas of the country and highlighted a joint initiative between NHS Forth Valley and Stirling Council to help people live independently in their own homes. The Stirling Reablement Service, has resulted in a 30% reduction in the number of people in care homes since 2009.

According to the 2011 census there are, for the first time, more people in Scotland aged over 65 than there are under 15.  And projections show that in the next twenty years the number of people in Forth Valley who are over 75 will increase by 97%. The new legislation would see NHS and local authority budgets integrated to pay for improved care in the community.

Mr Neil said it was important that older people were not ‘stuck’ in hospital longer than they need be. He added:

 People in Scotland are living longer, healthier lives – which is good news. But it also means that services need to adapt in order to meet the challenges of a rapidly ageing population.”

Kathy O’Neill, NHS Forth Valley’s General Manager for Community Health Services, explained:

 We believe that the existing close links with our three local authority partners gives us a very good foundation for the future and we see this Bill as the next logical step in delivering better and more streamlined care for vulnerable people.”

The new Bill is intended to help Scotland cope with the increasing pressures of an ageing population by reducing unnecessary delays that keep older people in hospital longer than needed and is seen as a major step forward in public service reform.