Questions asked over delay to Elgin ‘bed-blocking’ project

Jubilee Cottages - questions over project delay
Jubilee Cottages – questions over project delay

DELAYS TO PLANS to turn a row of Elgin cottages into a ‘halfway house’ between hospital and home for elderly people were highlighted by councillors on Wednesday.

Council convener Allan Wright raised the issue during a meeting of the health and social care services committee when he probed officials on the reason for the hold-up on work commencing.

It had been agreed earlier this year that Jubilee Cottages on Victoria Road would be turned into temporary accommodation that would go some way to alleviating ‘bed blocking’ issues being faced by NHS Grampian.

Under the plans older people will be helped to return to their own homes quicker after hospital treatment, as those who might otherwise remain in hospital will be eased back towards independence by spending some time at the new facilities created at the cottages.

Councillor Wright raised the issue as the committee had been expecting to receive an update on progress at Wednesday’s meeting. However, no information was forthcoming prompting the Heldon & Laich Councillor to say: “I for one was very excited about this project and I am now concerned about the delay in getting it moving.

“I had expected we would receive an update on how it was progressing at the meeting.”

In response the Council’s Occupation Therapy manager, Lesley Attridge, said that no progress could be made until someone had been appointed to lead the project.

She said: “The plans will not go forward until we have a project manager in place, which is a position we will be advertising very shortly. It will be the responsibility of that officer to cost up the scheme, including renovations and staffing expenses.

“Until we have that in a solid format it will not go before the committee for further decision – but enthusiasm for the project is still very much a focal point within the service. When a project officer is in place things will speed up.”

Recent figures showed that NHS Grampian is currently the worst-affected authority in Scotland with 380 cases of people waiting for over two weeks to be discharged from hospital in the period from January to October last year.

The Scottish Government earmarked £1.5million in additional funding to Moray in an attempt to alleviate the situation.