Social care reform needs action not words, Scottish sector representatives urge

Social care reform needs action not words, Scottish sector representatives urge

Lewis Macdonald MSP

Representatives from the Scottish social care sector have told the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee that proposals to reform the sector should be implemented as soon as possible, and not be another positive set of words with no action.

The views of the care sector are highlighted by the Scottish Parliament Committee in a letter to Jeane Freeman MSP, cabinet secretary for health and sport. The Committee held a roundtable with stakeholders from the sector following publication of the committee’s report into the future of social care and the independent review led by Derek Feeley.

Those taking part in the roundtable included a person in receipt of care, the manager of a small care home in a remote rural community, as well as leaders of the public, private and charitable care sectors.

In the letter, committee convener Lewis Macdonald MSP says the sector were clear that all of the recommendations in the review must be treated as equal priority and implemented together or the reform will not work. The letter cites self-directed support as an example of well-intentioned policy being let down by poor implementation.

Those from the sector told the committee that in order to address many of the issues facing the social care and support workforce, decent pay and conditions should be implemented, alongside clear career pathways.

The committee’s letter also highlights issues third sector and not-for-profit social care providers have had in accessing financial support in response to the pandemic. They point out that as of December 2020, of the £8,021,557 claimed by 32 not-for-profit providers, only £3,270,564 has been received. The Committee has called on the Scottish Government to resolve this as quickly as possible.

Lewis Macdonald MSP, said: “It’s clear that those from the social care sector wholeheartedly support the recommendations in both our recent report and the independent review. However, what they want to see is action, not words, and a concerted attempt to implement the change the sector so desperately needs.

“The pandemic has shone a light on some of the issues with the current social care model but most of these issues pre-date the pandemic and reform of the sector is long overdue.

“It was also made clear to us, once again, that the current crisis driven model is not sustainable and we must shift to a preventative one instead. Social care does not exist in a vacuum and links must be made to community and primary care, alongside wider societal issues such as poverty and homelessness, to ensure the long overdue reform is successful.

“We’d like to thank all of those from the sector who took part in our discussion and engaged with our inquiry.”

The committee has asked for a response from the Scottish Government to their report and letter by March 17.

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