Ricky Henderson: Addressing assessment waiting times

The length of time people are waiting for care assessments in the Capital has fallen by almost 50% under the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB), writes its Chair, Councillor Ricky Henderson.

Three years ago this month, the Integration Joint Board was established to help streamline health and social care services for the people of Edinburgh.Ricky Henderson, Chair of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board

As one of the most heavily inhabited cities in Scotland, our healthcare offering has certainly faced unprecedented and complex challenges. And, as the city keeps growing and the population ages, it is even more vital we put the right systems and services in place.

That's why the EIJB has set itself ambitious targets to make major changes to the way we integrate and deliver care. Long-term improvements will take time but our latest figures highlight some progress in key areas.

The rate at which patients get home from hospital quickly, safely, and efficiently is starting to increase. The number of people delayed from leaving hospital - and the number of bed days being lost as a result - has dropped by almost a third (29%) as the EIJB continues to make strategic improvements to the way it integrates and delivers services.

Evidence has also emerged of progress in the number - and length - of waiting times for care. The figures show waiting times for assessments over the last 18 months have almost halved (from 98 to 50 days) and the number of people waiting has dropped by over a third (37%). 

There is, of course, much more work to be done. To me, any delay is regrettable and potentially harmful and I am more determined than ever that we continue to enhance our services. I want to see us reduce waiting times and delays at a much faster pace.

The new Change Programme we are working on and the ambitions we have set out in our draft Strategic Plan, as endorsed by the Board in January and March and which we’ll be consulting on soon, are designed to help us work towards just that.

Ricky Henderson is Chair of the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board.

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