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NHS Lanarkshire Warns Future Not Affordable


NHS Lanarkshire has estimated the burden of cost it is facing to care for an increasingly ageing population suffering from multiple long-term conditions.

Lanarkshire has a population is 654,490. By 2035, it will rise slightly overall but with 37,300 more people aged 75 and over.

The board said it would be required to increase beds from 1,691 to 2,132 by 2025, but warned that this approach was “not desirable or affordable.”

The report said the preferred option was a greater shift from acute to community care with inpatient beds or emergency care used only as a “last resort” and hospital “centres of excellence” developed.

The figures was contained in the board’s annual report by the Director of Public Health, Dr Harpreet Kohli, which was published recently.

It comes after Audit Scotland warned that the NHS is facing “unprecedented” cuts to frontline services and ministers have failed to outline a coherent vision for the health system.

Auditor General for Scotland Caroline Gardner said NHS spending was not “keeping pace with increasing demand, rising costs and the needs of a growing and ageing population”.

It warned that the Scottish Government’s overall plan to shift hospital care to the community was not keeping pace with demand.

Health secretary Shona Robison said staffing levels and the health budget are at their highest levels.

NHS Lanarkshire’s annual review also stressed the need for greater preventative measures in the community to tackle rising obesity levels.

More than 70% of the adult population in Lanarkshire is overweight - 74% of males and 68% of females - and one third of children.

Almost a quarter (23.6%) of pregnant women are obese at the first ante-natal appointment.

The review said a community weight-loss programme for the over 16s had led to 60% of participants losing weight and that preventing unhealthy weight in children was a priority.

Another priority was identified to increase uptake of bowel cancer screening, with figures showing a 53% uptake rate.

While there has been a drop in alcohol consumption, there is a greater tendency in Lanarkshire to exceed daily drinking guidelines.

NHS Lanarkshire director of public health Dr Harpreet Kohli said: ““My report discusses NHS Lanarkshire’s proposed healthcare strategy, which outlines how we can provide health services as we live longer with long-term conditions, using prevention, self-management and hospital ‘centres of excellence’.

“Our health improvement actions are tackling Lanarkshire’s relationship with alcohol.

“We have seen a drop in alcohol consumption but we have a problem with a greater tendency in Lanarkshire to exceed daily drinking guidelines, meaning more work still needs to be done.”