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Social care can't wait for new National Care Service warns charity


A social care crisis is taking place

Social care improvements need imposed now and can’t wait for the proposed National Care Service, a charity has warned.

Katherine Crawford, Age Scotland chief executive, has written to health secretary Neil Gray saying the crisis is taking place now and urgent support is required.

The charity has set out five priorities for the government, including cutting waiting lists and ensuring care home visiting rights are embedded in law.

Last year the charity carried out a survey of more than 4,000 Scots aged above 50, in which 84% said timely access to healthcare is the single most important issue.

Government ministers have put forward a blueprint to overhaul the social care sector but this won’t be in place until at least 2029.

Crawford said: “I’m sure you would acknowledge we are facing a crisis of access to social care, medical assessments, and many treatments, as the NHS and health and social care partnerships struggle to overcome shortages of staff, resource challenges and growing waiting lists.

“We must fix social care in Scotland. We cannot wait for the delivery of the National Care Service as the sole means of doing so.

“There is so much to be proud of in our social care sector, but a crisis of resource, staffing and service availability is having a profound effect on the country.

“Many of the challenges facing our NHS, not least delayed discharge figures, could be addressed if social care really got the attention it deserved.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Adult social care support is vital to those who require additional support to live independently at home, in the community, or in a care home.

“We are committed to introducing a National Care Service, but we are also taking immediate action to improve things now, including investing £1.7 billion in social care support and health and social care support integration in 2023/24 with a further £3.6 million for the development and expansion of Hospital at Home services for older people.

We are seeing positive results from using our existing powers to ensure the Anne’s Law provisions in the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill are adopted now by strengthening the health and social care standards and guidance for care homes.

“The health secretary will respond to the letter from Age Scotland in due course.”



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David Hansen
about 2 months ago

The NCS is worth doing, but only if it is done properly.

Doing it properly means not doing it to some artificial timetable set by politicians, many of who are still rushing to get it set up as quickly as possible. Far better to get it right, which means ripping-up a lot of what @scotgov's tame consultants have come up with and doing a proper co-design.

In the meantime some temporary changes will be necessary. This means that setting the NCS up will be slower and more expensive, but it something is worth doing it is worth doing properly. Some of the money can come from not speeding up traffic and increasing danger on the A9, which @scotgov is trying to do at the moment.