Action needed on elderly care

Last week, the Scottish census was published which showed that for the first time ever, there are more Scots aged 65 than those under the age of 15.


The census also highlighted that in the last decade the number of 80 year olds has increased by nineteen percent.


Given this significant rise and the fact that our elderly population is set to grow even further, it is crucial that we have systems in place which ensure older people get the care that they need.


Unfortunately, it is clear that the current systems are not working as they should with charges for community services on the rise and times for care visits being reduced.


What’s more, inspections conducted in wards across the country by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, have shown that elderly patients are often being let down by poor standards of care due to the reduction in nursing numbers.


Shockingly in our acute hospitals, there have been incidences were patients have not been provided with the fundamentals such as proper bathing facilities and utensils to help them eat and drink.


In one instance, a patient lost one and half stone in the space of a week because they were not being cared for properly.


If we don’t urgently address these failings there is a danger that examples such as this will become more and more prevalent as our elderly population continues to increase.


We can’t allow this to happen. We have a duty to ensure that we look after those who have looked after us.


That is why I recently asked the Health Minister what he and his officials were doing to tackle the problem.


Worryingly for us all, he was unable to provide a direct answer to my question.