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by Theresa Shearer, Enable Group
17 February 2022
Associate Feature: Social care’s challenges demand action now

Associate Feature: Social care’s challenges demand action now

The Scottish Government’s commitment to establish a National Care Service is an exciting and historic opportunity to transform social care for future generations.However, addressing the existing systemic challenges demands urgent action now.

The pandemic has no doubt put significant strain on the sector, and post-lockdown labour market trends across the wider economy have exacerbated recruitment and retention challenges.
Committing to fund pay beyond the real living wage is an important milestone, but not the final destination. The Scottish Government and its partners have further to go to ensure overall terms and conditions are befitting of this skilled, dedicated, and professional workforce.

It is essential too that Scottish Government acts quickly to tackle service failure. Everyone with support needs has a right to excellent quality self-directed care. Mediocre is not good enough, and should not be tolerated by the regulator or commissioners.

In the same vein, it is simply not acceptable that over 1,000 adults who have a learning disability are living out of area or in institutional settings. As ENABLE Scotland’s My Own Front Door campaign clearly lays out, everyone has the human right to live in the home they choose, in the community where they want to live, close to the people they love.

This is not an impossible ambition. Indeed, the most important lesson for social care reform is to learn from and adopt those models of care that are proven to work, such as ENABLE’s internationally recognised “PA Model” of human rights-driven self-directed support.

The First Minister was right to note that the National Care Service could be something “future generations will look back on as having as much significance as the establishment of the NHS”
Yet as the Auditor General, Stephen Boyle, said last month: “We cannot wait another five years until the planned National Care Service is in place. Action must happen now, and at speed, by the Scottish Government.”

Theresa Shearer is ENABLE Group CEO, Vice President of Inclusion Europe and a Commissioner on the Law Family Commission on Civil Society.
This article was sponsored by Enable Group.

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