SERIOUS pressures are once again being experienced by Dumfries and Galloway’s health and social care system.
With a high level of activity coming after a four-day public holiday, staff are stretched across a wide range of services – with very immediate pressures in acute hospital settings.
Julie White is Chief Officer for Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, and she said: “The challenge being faced right now is very significant, and is impacting on our ability to deliver appropriate treatment and care.
“This week, our Emergency Department at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary is being stretched beyond capacity. The hospital is operating at full occupancy and has put in place escalation plans to cope with the excessive pressures.
“Alongside the significant increase in people needing immediate help, staff are also managing sizeable numbers of patients who are medically fit to return home or to a homely setting – but who are unable to leave hospital for reasons such as shortages of care or issues around guardianship. We are continuing to work closely with our Partner organisations to increase capacity within social care and recognise the huge efforts that are being made by our Care at Home providers and our Care Homes to support this very difficult position.
“Urgent operations are continuing to take place, and we’re working to continue to deliver scheduled operations – but the pressures are huge.”
Pressures across health and social care had eased slightly from a peak of demand at the start of the year which was being experienced nationally.
Mrs White said: “We saw unprecedented demand at the start of the year, worse than anything experienced during COVID, and although we then saw a little relief we are now back into extremely challenging territory.
“These are the sort of extremes we might expect to be seeing in the middle of winter, not in the springtime, which is very concerning.
“We would encourage anyone who needs help to come forward and seek it – but very importantly that they seek help in the appropriate way.
“Advice on many ailments or issues can be obtained via the website www.nhsinform.scot or by phoning NHS 24 on 111.
“Our GPs and community pharmacists are also an excellent point of contact for advice and support.
“If someone is considering attending one of our region’s two Emergency Departments and hasn’t spoken to someone before attending, we’d request that they stop and ask one question – ‘Is it an emergency?’
“An emergency is something potentially life-threatening – an accident, an injury or an illness that is a threat to life and requires immediate attention, like a heart attack, a stroke, a collapse or a broken bone.
“Our staff teams continue to work tirelessly to provide the best possible care and support at this time but resources are extremely stretched. Every effort is being made to respond to the ongoing challenges and we will continue to prioritise those patients with the most pressing needs. We thank the public for their ongoing support and understanding during this very difficult time.”