Strong Support for National Care Service

Kevin Stewart, Social Care Minister in the Scottish Government has welcomed the results of the recent consultation on establishing a National Care Service for Scotland.

Currently in Scotland there is a mixture of private, 3rd sector, unpaid, and local authority delivered care providing a patchwork of services. The pandemic brought into sharp focus the differences in care that is provided although all are subject to quality control by The Care Inspectorate.

There has also been considerable criticism of Integrated Health and Social Care which has not delivered on its aims of improving cross service provision and the concern of losing locally based knowledge of needs.

This was reflected in the consultation comments:

“Better integration of care offers the potential for improved outcomes for people receiving care and support and more effective use of resources but the importance of the community-based aspects of care need to be recognised.” (The Homecare Association)

National Care Service: consultation analysis

And from Orkney Islands Council:

” Whilst we can see the benefits of a consistent approach to integration across the country, there will undoubtedly be examples of various local configurations that are very different but equally effective for their local communities. Strategic planning, service design and delivery, that effectively meets the needs of communities, requires to be done as close to those communities as possible and, just as importantly, in conjunction with those communities. This has remained an aspiration for all Integration Joint Boards and should continue to be the case with Community Health and Social Care Boards. Continuing to align these Boards with local authority boundaries keeps the proximity of decision-making appropriately local and manageable.” (Orkney Island Council)

As the pandemic unfolded in March 2020 the number of deaths in Care Homes across Scotland was shocking. Staff, overworked and under paid, did not have the essential PPE required to do their jobs safely at the start of the pandemic.

Despite the appalling deaths occurring in Care Homes during 2020, stats published show that this deadly virus is still entering our Care Homes.

  • as at 1 February, 218 (21%) adult care homes had a current case of suspected COVID-19
  • in the week 24 to 30 January, there were 351 new confirmed positive COVID‑19 cases among care home residents and 466 among care home staff
  • as of 30 January 2022, there have been 15,339 confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst residents and 13,030 amongst staff of care homes for all ages since 9 March 2020
  • 29% of COVID-19 registered deaths are related to deaths in care homes

Social Care Services have suffered from decades of underfunding and staffing shortages.

The public consultation attracted nearly 1,300 responses, from around 703 individuals and just over 575 organisations. 

Kevin Stewart said:

“We will consider all views expressed in the consultation very carefully and I would like to thank all those who took part.

“It is clear that there is a real appetite for change.

“We will continue to engage with people with lived experience of the service whether they are people accessing care and support, their families, care workers or providers.

“The final scope of the National Care Service has not yet been concluded.  Over the coming weeks, we will have the opportunity to reflect on these views of the public. We will then be in a position to bring forward the detailed plans for improvement to be undertaken over the course of this Parliament. 

“However we are not waiting to act to enhance Scotland’s social care services that’s why we invested £300 million to help deal with winter pressures, and we’re determined to go further.

“We are committed to acting now to improve things for people. I am therefore delighted to announce today that we will develop and publish a standalone Carer’s Strategy with a focus on Covid recovery and improving carer support in a meaningful and sustainable way.

“We will engage with unpaid carers about its scope and purpose in the coming months to inform its development.

“Our aim will be to draw on the knowledge and lived experience of unpaid carers so that the strategy is shaped by those who best understand the many challenges faced.

“We will seek to publish the strategy by late spring to provide a clear vision for how we will respond to the challenges faced by so many carers.”

You can find the responses to the consultation here: Published responses

Link to the analysis of the responses: Analysis of stakeholders’ responses to our consultation on a National Care Service.

Fiona Grahame

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