Dumfries healthcare bosses tell people to 'prepare for difficult winter' amid growing waiting lists

Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership are facing enormous pressure mid-way through autumn. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Dumfries and Galloway residents have been warned to prepare for an extremely difficult winter as waiting lists lengthen and costs soar.

Current massive pressures will only continue to grow as we move into colder months say the Dumfries and Galloway Social Care Partnership, which is already experiencing a £20 million deficit in its budget.

Chief officer Julie White said it was likely that there would be further disruption to the backlog of scheduled procedures.

She said: “As we enter the autumn, our services are already under the sorts of pressure we might more typically expect in the deepest depths of winter.

"While I wish I could offer a more comforting outlook, I think that every one of us needs to be prepared for a very tough next six months.

“People should be aware that while we will be doing everything we can to treat those who have been waiting longest, further disruption is likely to the backlog of scheduled elective procedures as we see a continued high volume of people presenting with urgent, unscheduled and complex needs.

“Within social care, we continue to face a very significant challenge in meeting the volume of need. Staff who provide care at home services are such a vital part of the whole health and social care system, and we simply don’t have enough of them."

The partnership, which involves the NHS, council and charitable organisations, also said thousands of unpaid carers in the Dumfries and Galloway region will be facing great pressure over the winter months.

Ms White urged people who have a health need to assist others who are also in need by considering the best point to obtain support.

She added: “In many non-emergency situations, visiting NHSInform.scot or calling NHS 24 on 111 can be a good first option."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...