Councillors have backed a review of the system in Shetland which helps elderly people avoid being stuck in hospital when they do not need to be there and provides a temporary care unit for people to stay in while waiting for a care home place.
The so-called interim placement services are increasingly unable to cope due to the growing number of elderly people in the isles, meaning more are ending up having to stay in hospital wards than was the case five years ago because of the growing shortage of care centre beds.
Last week 37 people were waiting for places in care homes including seven stuck in the Gilbert Bain Hospital and 12 at the interim placement unit in Montfield Hospital, which is intended as a more homely place to wait until a room is free in a care home.
Yesterday SIC councillor Allison Duncan said one person had been waiting in the unit for 43 weeks.
The SIC and NHS Shetland have been working on the problem and how to adapt to the government’s policy of helping people stay at home or in community care rather than hospitals.
Over the next year a project group is to look at the situation and specifically at the Montfield unit with a view to it ceasing in its current role and possibly being redeveloped to better suit Shetland’s needs.