‘National conversation’ needed to fix ‘unsustainable’ social care sector
A “national conversation” about the future of social care is needed to build a better system, MSPs have said.
The Scottish Parliament’s health committee has also called for improved pay for carers in a new report, warning poor pay had led to many feeling undervalued.
The committee recommended discussions about the future of the sector must include those delivering care, both because of their “valuable” insights and to improve the status of carers.
Convener Lewis Macdonald said the current model of care was “unsustainable”.
He said: “Throughout this inquiry the message we have been given from those receiving care, and from paid and unpaid carers, is that they have not felt listened to and have been undervalued. That’s why it is essential that they are at the centre of much needed reform of the social care system.
“There is no doubt the current model of care is unsustainable, with some of the issues facing the sector exposed by the pandemic.
“We want to see a nationwide conversation held into the future of social care and we hope that the findings of our report, and the independent review, can help in shaping this future.”
Earlier this month, the Independent Review of Adult Social Care called for a national care service to be established to improve the consistency, quality and equity of social care in Scotland.
That review was set up following the deaths of thousands of care home residents from coronavirus.
The health committee said problems in the sector had been compounded by the pandemic, including how “demoralised and under-valued” care staff felt, particularly in comparison to NHS staff.
It urged the government to address various issues faced by carers, including a lack of training and development opportunities which were cited as barriers to attracting and retaining staff.
MSPs also called for local partnerships to be better supported to “deliver creative, innovative solutions”, backed by an overall strategic aim, data collection and the monitoring of progress.