Healthcare in its purest sense is impacted greatly by the quantity and quality of both social work and social care. As with other parts of Scotland, we struggle to recruit and retain staff, although this is further exacerbated by the inability to compete with private sector salaries paid largely by our ever expanding number of distilleries. Those who work in all of these roles in the community are known to be highly committed and valued by those they serve. Key leadership functions are sometimes undertaken by staff on the mainland who work remotely and supplement this with visits to the island. The social work team staff complement has been reduced over the years too and is currently below what is required because of staff vacancies. There is some evidence to suggest that the lack of availability of staff now means that some people will not request home care because they are aware of these shortages. A consequence, therefore, is that unmet need may not be accurately identified or logged.
There is no honest real effort to recruit and retain staff, or to train them appropriately. Everything care-wise is all about the limits of the budget rather than addressing the rights and needs or wishes of the individual needing the care support. That is not the way to improve people's lives, nor is decision-making by social workers who really do not have the best interests of the patient at heart. the tickbox mentality has to stop and the rights and needs of those requiring social care support needs to be addressed properly and considered properly. Needs-satisfaction needs to be taken into account and unmet need needs to be measured, recorded and openly published.
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