A Perth and Kinross health chief has said the remobilisation of health services poses a potential staffing risk in responding to COVID-19.
The chief officer of Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) Gordon Paterson was presenting an update on the Integration Joint Board’s (IJB) strategic risk management.
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The report was discussed at a meeting of the audit and performance committee of the Perth and Kinross IJB on Monday, November 30.
Mr Paterson said remobilising health services could create a problem with less staff available to help with the COVID response.
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He said: “I think the risk for the partnership is that whilst that happens, our ability to release staff from the services - that were previously scaled back - is severely limited.
“And that potentially has an implication for our ability to build that resilience and preparedness into our staffing response to the pandemic.”
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But Mr Paterson has earlier told the meeting: “I don’t think we have a risk around electives or outpatients.”
He told the committee these were considerations made by NHS Tayside and added: “At the moment it’s fair to say there does not appear to have been any scaling back in relation to the levels of activity that are under way - unlike what we perhaps saw in the early months of the pandemic.
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“Very many NHS non-COVID health services have been able to be remobilised and are continuing to operate at a high level.”
Mr Paterson told the committee they were in regular discussion with colleagues across the NHS in respect of these issues and said they were characterised by the Scottish Government’s strategic framework around COVID.
He explained: “And that’s the balance that needs to be struck between COVID health risks, non-COVID health risks, social risks and economic risks.
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“So electives and outpatient activity continue to be delivered to a fairly high degree.”
He said there was an ambition within NHS Tayside to continue to ensure people are able to access services “beyond the COVID response”.
The HSCP’s chief financial officer Jane Smith added: “Strategic risk management during a pandemic is quite a unique challenge for us all and why our close working with the Tayside wide group has been enormously helpful.
“That group - which includes council colleagues as well as NHS colleagues - will be a really strong reference group for us moving forward.”