Open webinar on Covid-19 Vaccination – 26 Jan

Scottish Care is hosting an open webinar with Prof Jason Leitch and Dr Syed Ahmed from the Scottish Government. This session will focus on Covid-19 vaccination and will take place on Tuesday 26 January at 3PM.

This webinar session is open to providers and frontline staff. Please share this information with colleagues and staff as it is a great opportunity to ask Prof Leitch or Dr Ahmed any questions or raise any concerns about the vaccine.

If you are interested in attending this webinar, please register by clicking the link below. Once your registration is approved, you will receive an email with Zoom details to join.

Registration link:

As the Covid-19 vaccination webinar is scheduled on the same day as our weekly Covid-19 surgeries, we have decided to bring the surgery forward to Monday 25 January at 2PM. This will be an in-house session with Dr Donald Macaskill and our Workforce Lead, Caroline Deane.

Details to join this session will be available on the Members Area of our website.

News release: Scottish Care expresses concerns over anti Covid-19 vaccine campaign

Scottish Care is deeply concerned that there appears to be a concerted campaign to convince care home managers and staff not to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.

Over the last two days the majority of care homes in Scotland have received unsolicited mail from a campaign group which variously has denied the validity of the vaccines and indeed the existence and prevalence of Coronavirus itself. In addition, there has clearly been a targeted campaign on social media to create uncertainty and fear amongst social care staff.

As an organisation we will continue to advocate that all residents and frontline nursing and care staff should receive the vaccine. Being vaccinated not only protects the most vulnerable and fellow colleagues but also protects the individual.

CEO, Dr Donald Macaskill said:

 “I am appalled that care home managers and staff are being targeted by anti-vaccination groups. To be at the receiving end of such a coordinated campaign at a time when many homes are struggling with live Covid-19 outbreaks is wholly despicable.

We all want an end to the helplessness we have been feeling in care homes. We all want to see families reconnected with residents. We all want a restoration of normality. Vaccination is the hope which offers us the potential of achieving all this and anything that insidiously tries to spread mis-information and falsehood, to create fear and anxiety prevents us all from the protection we need to provide for our residents and staff.”

The BBC has published a FAQ on the Covid-19 vaccine that may be useful to members and providers, this can be read here.

Care Home Awards – finalists announced & ceremony postponed

We are delighted to announce the finalists for the Care Home Awards. Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to everyone who were shortlisted.

The Care Home Awards were due to take place virtually on the evening of Friday 22 January 2021. However, due to current restrictions, we are unable to undergo filming for this. Therefore we have decided to postpone the awards until it is legally possible for us to start filming the ceremony. We hope to proceed with this in Spring 2021.

We want this event to be a special occasion and for it to be a true reflection of all the hard work from the care home sector this year. We hope that you understand and we will let you know the new date for the Care Home Awards as soon as we can.

Scottish Government: Stay at Home Campaign – Stakeholder Toolkit

The Scottish Government has launched the Stay at Home Stakeholder Toolkit.

The Stay at Home campaign is a new public information campaign to communicate the new, tighter national restrictions which took effect from Tuesday 5th Jan. This campaign reinforces the message that the new strain of the virus is spreading quickly and communicates how we must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. The campaign includes TV, radio and digital and will run until the 31st January.

View the Stay at Home TV Ad here

Campaign Assets

The Stay at Home Stakeholder Toolkit includes all the assets we have created to communicate the new restrictions and reinforce the importance of staying at home to stop the spread of the virus:

  • 30 second TV Ad
  • 30 second radio
  • Digital asset – videos in 3 format
  • Static assets

Download All Campaign Assets via WeTransfer Here

Social Care Data Forum 3 – notes & resources

We held the 3rd session of the Social Care Data Forum on 3 December 2020, thank you to everyone who attended.

We have developed a paper which follows on from the notes of the previous two meetings, thus concluding this phase of the data forum. The information contained within the papers from the three forum meetings will be developed into a position statement on data for social care.

These notes, along with the session recording and presentation slides are available below.

We also developed a social media template for #datachangeslives, the instructions and template can also be accessed below.

Care Futures – Launch of ‘Social Care Mosaic’ for 2021

Make it your New Year’s resolution to share your aspiration for a positive social care future 

 In November 2020, we developed the concept of a ‘Social Care Garden’ through our Collective Care Futures programme as a way to imagine and share our vision for the future of social care in Scotland. This was included as part of our What If & Why Not’ submission to the Independent Review of Adult Social Care. We are now taking this a step further by inviting people to be part of this collaborative vision for the future to capture our collective aspirations. To do this we are curating a ‘Social Care Mosaic’ for our Care Futures Garden.   

Through the ‘Social Care Mosaic’ we aim to capture the imaginations of the people of Scotland to better understand the values of social care and generate collective action to support the wishes and dreams people have for this context for the future. We intend to create a dedicated online space on the Scottish Care website to share these anonymously. We would appreciate your support in getting our mosaic started. 

We invite you to share your ‘tile’ for our mosaic by sending us a virtual postcard: 

You can also take part in Phase 2 of our programme where we are continuing to collectively build a vision for the future that enables wider dialogue around key actions, people and infrastructure required to enable change.  

Help us build an aspirational vision, by taking a couple of minutes to share your ambitions for the future of social care: 

Find out more about the Care Futures programme here.

A lament for 2020: loss and grief in a pandemic year.

In this last blog of 2020, I find it difficult to do anything other than reflect on the events of the last ten months.

Throughout my childhood I was brought up with an awareness that remembering the past in all its joy and pain, putting together the stories of sadness alongside memories of happiness, was not escapism and delusion, but rather essential and intrinsic to living life to the full. Indeed, failing to do so prevented you from moving forward into both a personal and a collective future.  Remembrance is essential for a person and a people to be and become whole.

In my upbringing I was reminded of the truth of this reality every time I looked out of the window of my mother’s croft house in Glendale, Skye, towards the distant hill on the other side of the glen beyond which was the small township of Borreraig. In that clachan of crofts, the great MacCrimmon family had for generations lived and held sway. They were the exemplars of the great tradition of piobaireachd music for the Scottish bagpipes. “MacCrimmon’s Lament” is perhaps the most famous and is often played at Highland funerals, dating  back to the Jacobite uprising of 1745. Within piobrocheead the classic theme of the music is one of lament, which itself is a form in literature, art and music that constitutes some of the oldest creativity in the world.

Lament is not a wallowing in the pain and distress of the past, but rather a gathering up of the threads of brokenness until they are woven into a rhythm of resonant recollecting. To lament is to mouth or sound out one’s pain, to seek to make sense and to simply be present in grief. Its insight is that the act of grieving and remembering are woven into our humanity. We cannot have hope unless we remember.

At the start of the year when in February along with colleagues I was writing a Guidance document for Coronavirus for the care sector, few of us could have imagined the nightmare which would begin to unfold both across the world and in Scotland. Most of us thought that as we went into lockdown that we would be talking a few weeks at most – never many months. None of us could have fathomed the depths of loss and desolation that would become the experience of thousands  especially in our care homes.

There will be time for examination and investigation, for Inquiry and Review, but as this year comes to its closing, I earnestly believe that it is more important than ever that we take time to remember every single individual who has lost their lives both directly to the virus and as a consequence of the pandemic and our precautions.

Throughout this year and in this blog I have shared stories of dozens of folks, some I have known, others who started as strangers, but mostly of those who have struggled with grieving and loss, with absence and loneliness in these Covid times. I have never been so privileged as to have become the companion of such lives.

The daily arithmetic of statistics on TV or media can sometimes deaden our appreciation of the truth that behind every single number there is a story of a man, woman and child; a mother, father and brother; a lover, husband and wife. Each one known to someone or maybe to too few, some sadly known to me personally but most of them people whose parting and death have brought aching emptiness and sorrow.

Behind every number there is a face which will never again break into a smile of recognition or with glinting eye welcome family and share laughter.

Behind every number there is a life cut short, stories and tales untold, ambitions and dreams unfulfilled.

Behind every number there was someone who mattered, who lived and breathed, who left a mark on the earth they were bound to and to which they will return.

Behind every number, there was someone who was the whole of life, the totality of everything, the purpose of someone’s loving.

Behind every number was someone who still had laughter to share, forgiveness to offer, and a future to unfold.

Behind every number was someone who was birthed into being through pain and love and now is no more.

And therefore, we must never forget or be allowed to simply grow accustomed to the numbering of loss and the predicability of this pandemic.

I lament not just for those who have died from Covid but all who have died in a year unlike any other without the assurance and strength, without love and family.

I lament for those who have been unable to celebrate the lives of those they have lost and be together in love through ritual and recollection.

I lament for those who have lived their lives cocooned in protection but hidden from love, absent from the touch of family, distant from the reach of embrace.

I lament for those who have struggled with the anguish of losing their jobs, of disappearing self-worth, whose sense of self and purpose has disintegrated.

I lament for those who have been confronted by the demons of addiction and the anguish of their inner self, wracked by mental distress and trauma of memory.

I lament for those frightened by the fear of this pandemic to a point that they have lost their joy and hidden themselves away from hope.

I lament for those who are simply tired and weary of worrying and protecting, of masking and distancing, of working and encouraging, of being there, and being present for others.

There is much to lament for and there is necessity to do such.

2020 demands from us the spirit of lament, not one that settles in the distress of days gone by but one that seeks through that recollection to give energy to a determination to do things differently, to be better, and to change our future.

In my mother’s tongue December which is bringing this awful year to its end is called an Dùbhlachd, which means literally ‘blackness.’ But in the oral tradition of my grandmother, it is also a word which has within itself the sense that December is a time which also brings us the stirring of the seeds of hope and renewal. This last week I have watched the winter solstice and the slow turning of the seasons towards the lengthening of days. There is within an Dùbhlachd a sense of renewal and turning. Nothing stays dark forever. There is nothing more powerful than the flicker of light in the deepest darkness.

So, the day after we have celebrated Christmas, which for many was the strangest and saddest of days, and in the between time of our festive celebrations, I will lament and mourn, I will remember and grieve … but over time the words and the music of such sadness and loss which 2020 has given will become distant and disappear into silence. Tomorrow and the next day I know that I will need – as all who grieve – to turn my face to the dawn, to rise up and to face that future. The lament will become an echo, a memory, but one whose sound will remain inside for ever.


Being old did not define them
the lives they lived
the lives they gave and made
through hardship and hard work
with few if any luxuries.
The loves they loved and gave,
the hugs, the smiles,
some tears, much laughter.

They were our mums and dads.
We gave them the joy of our children
to make them great and grand for another generation.

This is who they were.
They were not expendable.

We are not the herd.

In memoriam for Pat Cooper b 14.09.1925 d 28.03.2020

Trish Davies
Deputy Chair, Relatives & Residents Association


Donald Macaskill

Fever Free Zone Webinar – 14 January

We are hosting a webinar in partnership with Fever Free Zone on Thursday 14th January at 2PM.

Challenges and Opportunites and Risks for the care sector in an era of Public Health Risk:  Protecting  the vulnerable as we emerge into a new normal. Public Health Consultant and Clinical Epidemiologist Dr Paul Nelson presents a perspective on the challenges of the next 6 to 12 months and the likely new normal and offers a forum for discussion. Dr Paul Nelson is a Clinical Epidemiologist and Public Health Consultant leading on the health protection of the Care Home Response for Herefordshire Council and is founder of Fever Free Zone.

Details to join this webinar session will be available shortly on the Members Area.

Extraordinary humanity: Christmas stars and ordinary humanity.

On Monday December 21st  and for the next couple of days until Christmas Eve in the early evenings along with many others I will be looking up into the sky hoping it will be cloudless as I attempt to see evidence of one of the celestial rarities. I will be searching for what is called the Great Conjunction which is the coming together of Saturn and Jupiter in their closest alignment since 1226.  The event happens  when the solar system’s two largest planets appear side by side in a “great conjunction” above the horizon soon after sunset.

It has been reported that the Vatican believes that the original Star of Bethlehem may have been such a Great Conjunction. Be that as it is may at the end of the coming week, we will be celebrating the Christian festival of Christmas. It will be a time of especial importance to those of Christian belief but even to the millions of others who are not Christian, Christmas Day has a significance way beyond its 24 hours. This year we will be spending the day in very different ways to the norm. This will be exceptionally hard for many not least those who have been separated from their loved ones for too long in care homes and in community.

Twenty-nine years ago, I was privileged to spend some time in Bethlehem and in Israel-Palestine in general. Bethlehem is a town of modernity etched with memory; its significance as a place of new beginning and possibility is worn wisely upon its ancient shoulders. It was also beyond the romanticism of tourist trinkets and pilgrim souvenirs, a place of grinding poverty, inequality and discrimination. But one of my lasting memories of my time there was that it and its predominantly Palestinian inhabitants were singularly proud of belonging to a place of becoming, of being citizens in the birthplace of the Christ. I remember talking to someone there and quizzing them about what was special about the place given that there was huge historical and archaeological debate and scepticism about most the so-called ‘holy sites.’ The response was simple, ‘This is a place where the ordinary is turned into the extra-ordinary.’

There is indeed a truth in that analysis. Throughout the history of both the cultural and theological depiction of the birth of the Christ, there is an inescapable simplicity of interpretation, which would contend that this is all about the ordinary becoming extraordinary. In a turning of the tables of expectation Christians believe that divine power and omnipotence incarnates itself into the fragility of flesh and blood. The power of the universe and creation is imaged in the vulnerability of a new-born, defenceless child. The assertion is that the extraordinariness of divinity becomes the ordinariness of humanity, and by this the Christian story asks for the elevation of humanity in all its reality, vulnerability and pain.

So, next week when I look to the skies, I might not be searching for a Star of Bethlehem, and given the Scottish weather I might not even see a Great Conjunction, but I will spend time reflecting on the truth that it is in the ordinariness of our living that we are surprised by the extraordinary, that wonder and awe is enshrined in our humanity lived at its best.

And as I reflect, I will know deep down that the year that has passed has evidenced that truth. We looked out from lockdown and watched folks going about their daily work despite carrying the burden of fear. They were ‘ordinary’ people doing ‘ordinary’ jobs which on any other day and at any time would have gone unnoticed, unheralded and poorly rewarded. They were the home carers, the cleaners and supermarket staff, the nurses and bus drivers, the care home staff and hospital porters. They were evidence of the ordinary being turned extra-ordinary.

As most of us sat cocooned in safety away from the virus, we witnessed communities coming together in acts of generosity and kindness, finding solidarity in the midst of suffering, and supporting one another to be our better selves. Whilst the air may have been tangible with absence and isolation, there was also as sense of mutuality and concern, which went way beyond the clapping of a Thursday night or the platitudes of politicians.

Christmas is about turning the tables of expectation upside down. The coming days will undoubtedly be filled with concern and anxiety for many, regret and loneliness for yet more. They will be days of memory when the absence of a loved one who has died will ache particularly hard. There will be moments when Christmas days of the past, togetherness and laughter will fill memory and bring tears. But I hope it will also be a time when we think of those who have given to others in so many ways in the months that have passed. They have given to each of us the priceless gift of compassion and community. This may be a Christmas less ordinary but it is also one whose strangeness should give us space to reflect and remember, to be thankful for and to commit to being different and better.

One of the most famous poems of this season is the ‘Journey of the Magi’ by T.S.Eliot. Written nearly a 100 years ago, and now most definitely of its time, it describes the experience of the Magi, the ‘wise men’ of our childhood nativity stories who followed a celestial happening to arrive at the birth of a baby. In one glorious phrase Eliot describes them changed by the experience of following that star to see birth contradict expectation. The experience transformed them forever so that they could not go home to the routine predictability of their past life. ‘We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,’

I hope that whatever we do on Christmas Day and whoever we are with, that we might look to the skies and spend some time thinking of those whose ordinariness of living and loving in the last nine months has the potential to transform us all, and as we do to remember those for whom this season is one of sadness and absence, and who this year will be more alone than silence. I hope we will give space and time to all those unnoticed and unloved. I hope that we can all have the courage to find a determination to learn from the pain of the last few months and commit not to return to the way things have been or still are, but to walk together into the creation of a new, more human way of being. I hope that we will carry with us into that future the gift of ordinary loving made extraordinary.

Happy Christmas  when it comes.

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.”

T.S.Eliot, Faber and Faber.


Donald Macaskill.

What’s your positive future for social care?

We are delighted to launch Phase 2 of Scottish Care’s ‘Collective Care Future’ programme. The programme has been building on the learning from COVID-19 to collectively explore the future of social care. Phase one focused on understanding the pandemic experience across the independent social care sector. We produced a series of emerging insights and developed a futures perspective paper, ‘What if and why not?’, shaped by our engagements from Phase 1.

In Phase 2 we are continuing to collectively build a vision for the future that enables wider dialogue around key actions, people and infrastructure required to enable change. We have collaborated with AndThen, a design strategy studio, to design Phase 2 where we hope to support diverse groups to imagine possible and positive futures resulting in a tangible and engaging output to help facilitate action and change.

There are lots of ways to be involved in Phase 2:

Help us build an aspirational vision, by taking a couple of minutes to share your ambitions for the future of social care:

And/or take part in a 2-part futures workshop which will take place in January 2021. Sign up to the workshops here: Care Futures Phase 2 Engagement Sessions – Scottish Care

Look out for further updates and engagement opportunities early in the New Year.

For more information visit:

Or contact: [email protected]