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NHS Western Isles and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are appealing to island communities to help protect and preserve health and social care services during the autumn and winter months ahead.
Health and social care services across the country are already experiencing extreme pressure on services for a variety of reasons.
Both the health board and local authority are appealing to those who demonstrated such fantastic resilience and goodwill at the same time last year to do what they can to support their local services.
That could include a range of measures – from avoiding unnecessary attendance at already stretched emergency departments; to helping to provide additional support to friends and relatives who require care or assistance at home.
Western Isles Health and Social Care Partnership Chief Officer Nick Fayers explained: ‘Already this year we are seeing unprecedented pressure on community health and social care systems nationally – and this is reflected in the Western Isles too.
‘We need our services to be preserved and protected to ensure that those in greatest need receive the necessary care and support as quickly as possible.
‘In the community and in social care, we have seen a higher number of people requiring more nursing and social care input at home than usual.
‘Staff absence and a number of vacant posts that are proving challenging to fill, together with recruitment difficulties, means that these services are very stretched.
‘We want to be upfront with our communities about not only the current pressures, but also the real challenge facing us over coming months as additional winter pressures approach.
‘The good news is that there are ways everyone can help, and our assurance to you is that services will be there for those who need them.’