Disabled people and carers call for fundamental overhaul of social care

Written by Jenni Davidson on 28 July 2016 in News

Scotland needs a new model for social care, says a coalition of third sector organisations as they launch a joint statement of ambition

Robert MacPherson of LCiL,Health secretary Shona Robison and Sally Witcher of Inclusion Scotland - Image credit: Independent Living in Scotland

A coalition of Scottish organisations have joined forces to call for an overhaul of social care support in Scotland.

Yesterday they launched their statement of shared ambition for the future of social care support in Edinburgh, which calls for the Scottish Government to hold an independent national commission on the funding of social care.

The 16 Scottish organisations represent disabled people, older people, women, care providers, paid and unpaid carers and the voluntary sector as well as care providers.

They say Scotland’s social care support system is at risk of cracking under the strain of rising demand with funding failing to keep pace.


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The organisation behind the statement, Independent Living in Scotland, suggests that the introduction of health and social care integration in April offers a “timely opportunity” to establish a commission to look at the best way to fund the social care support. 

The groups who signed the statement say that any review of social care support should recognise it as an infrastructure investment in the social and economic wellbeing of Scotland.  

Social care should be considered a means to achieving other aims such as learning and employment and not an end in itself, they maintain.

As well as calling for a commission, the statement of shared ambition calls for national common outcomes and for a national framework of eligibility criteria to ensure consistency across the country, although the statement is clear that social care should continue to be delivered a local level.

It also calls for an end to care being done ‘to’ or ‘for’ people, with greater decision making powers g given to the person receiving support.

“We believe giving greater control than is now the case to those requiring support will stimulate innovation, allowing people to achieve outcomes in imaginative new ways,” the statement says.

“This will lead to more efficient and effective use of public resources.”

Speaking at the launch, Sally Witcher, chief executive of Inclusion Scotland, called the statement “ambitious, forward-thinking and strategic”.

“What we don’t want to see from health and social care integration is social care reduced and subsumed into healthcare and simply becomes ‘healthcare delivered within the community’,” she said.

Rather the social care system should be one that “enables people to live life and not just stay alive” and the national framework should be based on human rights, which could not be “contingent on whatever local priorities happen to be”.

Health secretary Shona Robison said there was much in the statement the Scottish Government could agree with.

“We share the ambition that social care is a transformative instrument for social change and that it protects, promotes and ensures human rights and tackles inequalities for disabled people and carers,” she said. “However, we fully recognise the challenges facing the social care sector.”

She noted that the Scottish Government had already agreed a programme of work with COSLA to look at the future of social care.

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