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Local care services under extreme pressure - a message to our community and partners

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[24 September 2021]

You will all be aware of the pressures on the health and social care system at the moment.  In recent days South Ayrshire has seen some of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection since the pandemic began, meanwhile hospitals are under unprecedented strain for this time of year. 

These pressures are being driven not just by COVID-19 but also by increased demand for a range of services as well as staff shortages across the system.  With this in mind, South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership - along with South Ayrshire Council and NHS Ayrshire and Arran - is asking everyone to be mindful of the current situation and to do what they can to help.


Billy McClean, Head of Community Health and Care at South Ayrshire HSCP said:

"COVID-19 is still with us and is continuing to have an impact on our lives. As the restrictions are relaxed, community transmission levels, staff shortages and increased demand across the system are posing a real challenge to the delivery of health and social care.

"It is vital that our communities are aware of the pressures we are experiencing right now and continue to expect over the coming weeks. We strongly advise our community to adhere to the public health guidance, take up the vaccine and any boosters that may be available, and to be mindful of these pressures when accessing health and social care services.

"Staff have been working relentlessly since the start of this pandemic to deliver vital care and support, going above and beyond to provide high quality services to those in hospital, in care homes and receiving other support such as care at home.

"However, at present our community services - care at home, care homes, community nursing, allied health professional, community hospital and primary care - are extremely stretched. In this context we cannot deliver services as we would wish. And as a result we are having to prioritise the most urgent needs.

"In these challenging circumstances, I'm reaching out to the people of South Ayrshire for some understanding and patience for our teams and other providers of social care who are working extremely hard to deliver support to our most vulnerable residents.  We would also encourage you to do what you can within your communities to help support to your neighbours, friends and family.

"I'm sure you will join me in paying tribute to the continued dedication of our staff, as well as those who provide vital services in the third and independent sector.  The support we have received from the community and our partners over the past 18 months has been invaluable and we know South Ayrshire's communities will support the HSCP and support one another through this difficult time."

How can you help?

Please think about what the right support is for you.  Choose self-care, home remedy medicines, NHS Inform or the pharmacy.

Only use the Emergency Department for emergencies.

If you can help support a relative or neighbour with social care needs, please do so. Where individuals need critical support they will receive it. For others waiting times for support may be longer.  Workers will discuss this honestly with you.


You can also help by to continuing to follow the public health advice to stay safe and protect others by:

  • wearing face coverings
  • getting vaccinated when offered
  • meeting outside and keeping a distance from others
  • cleaning your hands and surfaces often
  • getting a test and staying at home if you have symptoms
  • taking regular tests if you don't have symptoms
  • using the Protect Scotland and Check-in Scotland apps
  • working from home, or do a mixture of home and office working if you can