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A call to action from BGS Scotland to the incoming government

Why the incoming Government must act

We know that Scotland’s population is ageing. Older people are more likely to be admitted to hospital as an emergency and to have multiple and complex health problems - unplanned hospital admissions for people aged over 75 increased by 26 per cent in the 10 years to 2013/14. 

Healthcare and support services are struggling to cope because systems are not geared to meet the needs of a core user group – older people with multiple long-term conditions. BGS Scotland is therefore calling on the incoming Government to take six key decisions to promote excellent healthcare and support for older people.


Decision 1: Ensure that health and social care integration works for older people

The new integrated authorities need to develop clear plans for the care of older people, particularly those who have multiple long-term conditions. This should include the ability to respond rapidly to crisis situations to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

Decision 2: Ensure adequate levels investment in high quality care

The health infrastructure needs adequate investment to ensure primary, rehabilitation and re-ablement services meet the needs of older people and should be focused on maximising independence and minimising moves into care homes.

Decision 3:  Develop capacity for health and social care providers to enable high quality care

Older patients are core business for the NHS in Scotland and are entitled to expect high quality care everywhere; the Older People in Acute Care programme has made considerable progress with this but continued support of this work is vital. Budgets for the new integrated authorities need to reflect the requirements for older people’s services of adequate size and quality.

Decision 4: Provide national strategic direction on older people living with frailty, dementia, complex needs and multiple long-term conditions

There should be clear planning for older people’s access to comprehensive geriatric assessment, personalised care plans for treatment and long-term follow-up.

Decision 5: Support staff across all care sectors to develop competencies in the management of older patients

One of the keys to the equitable and safe care of older people is the assurance that those caring for them – doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, care attendants and others – have the right knowledge, training, skills and values to deliver the right type of care for this group. The BGS calls on the incoming Government to require the regulatory and advisory bodies to incorporate competencies in the management of older people in their curricula, guidance, and professional and quality standards.

Decision 6: Measure the dimensions of care that matter to older people and their families

Performance assessment for service providers should include dimensions of care that matter to older people and their families and carers, and that make a difference to the quality of care provided and the outcomes of care, with evidence of feedback from service users about their experiences of the care pathway.

Jennifer Burns
Chairman: BGS Scotland

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