Council pledges support for healthcare staff

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Healthcare staff in Argyll and Bute will be fully supported during the current coronavirus pandemic, officers have promised.

During a meeting of the boad which runs the area’s health and social care partnership, convened via Skype on Wednesday, a motion was lodged to register thanks to workers.

Jane Fowler, head of customer and support services with Argyll and Bute Council, told the partnership’s integration joint board (IJB) that efforts were ongoing to support staff during ‘a challenge like nothing seen before.’

A report by Dr Nicola Schinaia, the Health and Social Care Partnership’s associate director of public health, had previously advised of how the situation would be tackled.

Joanna McDonald, the HSCP’s chief officer, said: ‘We have stood up with resilience. Meetings have taken place with NHS Highland daily. In terms of Argyll and Bute Council, we are closely linked there.

‘I have heard the phrase ‘unprecedented times’ a lot but I can’t emphasise enough that we are living in unprecedented times.

‘But staff are planning and pulling together in a way that is commendable around this issue.’

Judy Orr, the HSCP’s head of finance and transformation, added: ‘We have had assurances from the Scottish Government that additional costs will be reimbursed to us.

‘We have already submitted some initial cost estimates and will update these regularly.”

Ms Fowler then said: ‘We have an integrated workforce and some of our services are being shut down as they cannot be delivered in the current emergency situation.

‘We have a good indication of priorities which will come under pressure and are looking at how best to redeploy our resources across the council and NHS.

‘This is going to be a challenge like nothing seen before. It is going to be a combination of people in communities and people who are retired, but we are working across both organisations.

‘It will have impacts and our responsibility is to ensure that staff do not become overwhelmed or exhausted.’

After talks on the HSCP’s response, chairman Councillor Kieron Green made an addition to the recommendation to note the plans for the battle against coronavirus.

He said: ‘I feel it would be appropriate to add our thanks for the ongoing dedication by all staff on health and social care locally, it people agree.’

The IJB members did agree to record their thanks.