Scottish Care comments on the Scottish Budget

Before the Scottish Budget Scottish Care had in an Open Letter ( ) called upon the Finance Secretary to recognise the significant fiscal contribution of social care to the whole Scottish economy. We appealed for an increased budget of between 3-5% to address the chronic underfunding of public social care services in Scotland. We are therefore immensely disappointed that the pleas of many across the sector have fallen on deaf ears and that the increased funding  which has been announced will only be in the region of £69million. This is swallowed up completely when the increases in the Real Living and National Minimum Wages are taken into account. There is no funding for sustaining the sector to meet increased challenges.

Scottish Care agrees with COSLA (the local government association in Scotland) who have highlighted that the Budget whilst announcing £495m extra for councils also makes £590m worth of Government commitments which they have to carry out. Effectively local government which is already on its knees is facing a £95m shortfall.

Scottish Care Chief Executive Dr Donald Macaskill commented.

The Scottish Budget is another huge disappointment. There is a critical gap between the political rhetoric that the Government cares for and supports social care and the reality of a funding package which does absolutely nothing to address the problems facing the sector. That reality is a critical and worsening workforce shortages, rising costs, increased levels of need and demand and an urgent need to invest, . The social care sector for older people in Scotland is teetering on the brink. This budget far from throwing it a necessary lifeline  pushes us closer to the edge.”

Imagine a Decade of Care: a new year blog from our CEO

As doors of all sizes, shapes, and colours open up across Scotland to welcome in the first foots of the year; as peat, log and paper kindle an open hearth, as hand and hug, food and drink foster hospitality and welcome, so we find ourselves standing at the brink of a new decade. What to say at such a point in a blog for the New Year?

It would be the folly of futility to try to prophesise what this decade will bring. Indeed, at its edge we are witnessing almost unapparelled times of political uncertainty and societal challenge and no little fear and discomfort. But in the spirit of the optimism and hope with which we traditionally greet the new year as Scots, I for one would want to be positive and optimistic for to be any other is to bring into life the darkness that risks our tomorrows. So, what of social care? I would like to imagine and hope that this will be a Decade of Care.

I imagine a decade where women and men who do the astonishing job of caring for others, whether as a family member or as a paid professional, will be recognised as the vibrant heart of our country not as is so often the case as a drain and drudge. Where they will be properly remunerated and resourced either by appropriate respite and support or by being paid a wage, which is not just about ‘living’ but about being valued and affirmed, being able to dream their own dreams and live out their own future.

I imagine a country which turns the tables on what is considered to be of fiscal value and sees that those who care for others, those in our people sectors as the true entrepreneurs and navigators of our nation’s future; where the economic value of social care is not just talked about but that we consciously choose as a society to invest in, to finance and support the innovation and growth of our care sector.

I imagine a decade where we will be able to shape the way in which technology can enable us to be better at caring, to be more present when we need to be, which frees people up to care and which reduces the drudge of the practical. The 2010s have seen enormous progress. It was that decade which brought us technology as diverse as the iPad, driverless cars, smart devices by the score and 3D printing. Who knows what the 2020s will offer. But I want to hope that all innovation will be rooted in an ethical and human rights framed understanding that commits to the human and the personal, to citizen autonomy and control over data; and for each of us, but especially those who require care and support, to be the directors and leaders of their lives and not actors to someone else’s script.

I imagine a society which finally takes seriously the environmental and natural challenges we are all going to have to address. A Scotland where we do not just leave it to our children to be the campaigners for our planet. Admittedly the care sector has much to do in this regard, but this decade will have to be one which reduces waste, replaces unnecessary use of plastics, transforms our use of energy  and which makes being green a core part of what it means to care.

I imagine a society which does not just talk about human rights in pious platitudes and political catchphrases, but which acts to enshrine the rights of others at the heart of all we do and who we are. Where dignity, fairness, respect and choice are ethical values which are also underpinned by the robustness of legal recourse. Where we do not just talk the talk by passing great legislation in our Scottish Parliament but robustly enable change to happen through progressive work on issues like self-directed support, mental health legislative reform, palliative and end of life care and bereavement support, and every other piece of work that enables citizens to lead, removes power from vested social and political interest and truly democratises the way we do things.

So, I have no shortage of imagination as I stand on the edge of the decade – but that is not enough. Imagination has to be rooted in a determination to do different and be better. Imagining tomorrow starts with struggling with the issues of today.

For me in the work I do those struggles are against the discrimination of the old who are too often treated as if they are ‘has beens’ with nothing to say, contribute or change. It means challenging the cult of youth by recognising the mutuality of community, the inter-generational nature of belonging and the inter-dependency of all. It means challenging the easy complacency which inadequately resources and funds the costly task of care. It means the end to a naivety which thinks that quality care and compassion can be bought on the cheap and delivered on a shoestring. It means giving real power to citizens and real choice, not the creating of one-size fits all solutions or the drawing back of choice on the questionable presumption that Mother State knows what is best for you. It means shouting down the casual excuses of ‘It’s Aye been done like that’It’ll no work here’ or ‘We’ve tried it afore.’ – these three sisters of Scottish passivity – which are holding back so much across Scotland that is innovative, progressive, challenging and new.

To imagine a decade of care is to imagine a time where all those with something to say are heard and listened to; where those who struggle to be heard because of disability or self are able to find voice and recognition; where the scars of mental health are recognised and reshaped regardless of age; where the emptiness of a lonely life is populated with the presence of others; where personal purpose and meaning unleash the shackles of addiction and dependency; where the stranger is seen not as an outsider but as the one whose presence shapes our communities; where the contribution of those who are migrant and new citizens is celebrated and valued; where we no longer debate difference as the means of creating identity but where inclusion and openness foster belonging and citizenship.

I hope with others to reach a 2030 having contributed my own small share to creating a Decade of Care.

Bliadhna mhath ùr agus deichead ùr sona

Happy New Year and Happy New Decade.

Dr Donald Macaskill

CEO, Scottish Care



Care Inspectorate: Consultation events for care at home and housing support services

Since 2018, the Care Inspectorate have been rolling out a revised methodology for inspecting care and support services. The core of the new approach is a quality framework for use in self-evaluation, scrutiny and improvement support which sets out the elements that will help answer key questions about the difference care is making to people and the quality and effectiveness of the things that contribute to those differences. This involves setting out what they expect to see in high-quality care and support provision in order to help allow improvement. Using a framework in this way develops a shared of what constitutes good care and support.

Work is currently underway on a joint framework for support services (care at home) and housing support services (including combined services). The Care Inspectorate wish to consult with the sector to ensure that the framework reflects key issues and areas of practice that will support positive outcomes for the people using this range of services. This will be an approach that will consider how they inspect services across the range of services under these registration categories.

Consultation events are being held at the following locations and we encourage you to participate. A session will be run at each location from 9.30am – 12.30pm. Places will be limited, so please book your place as soon as possible if you are interested.

Please contact Jane McIntosh at [email protected] to request a place at any of the following events:

  • Tuesday 26 November 2019 at the Best Western Queens Hotel Dundee 160 Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4DU
  • Thursday 28 November 2019 at the Stirling Court Hotel, Airthrey Road, Stirling, Stirlingshire, FK9 4LA

 Please note: A further event will be arranged for Orkney to take place in January 2020.

News Release: Launch of Care Badge Scotland at Scottish Care’s National Care Home Conference 2019

Today, at the National Care Home Conference and Exhibition, CARE badge, the unifying symbol of pride and quality in care, is launched by Duncan Campbell, Director of everyLIFE Technologies Scotland, supported by Dr Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care.

Under the slogan “It’s the small things that bring people together”, the CARE badge aims to highlight and respect nearly 1 million people delivering care in Scotland every day. This is made up of over 200,000 social care workers, accounting for 7.7% of all employment in Scotland. Unpaid carers are estimated to be 788,000, which is 14.5% of the Scottish population.

Dr Donald Macaskill: I am delighted to be involved in the launch of the Care Badge in Scotland. The work of care is one of the most rewarding, invigorating yet at the same time challenging jobs in Scottish society. We owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to the thousands of women and men, both paid and unpaid carers, who every day make a difference to the lives of others. They are the soul of our nation and show us our communities at their best.  I hope we will see thousands of these badges being worn in villages, towns and communities across Scotland so that we can celebrate care. This is all about making care visible The valuing of the work of care is a mirror of a nation that cares.”

Duncan Campbell: “It’s time to raise the public profile of this crucial service and the appreciation of those providing care. So we’ve launched the CARE badge campaign in Scotland as a unifying symbol of pride and quality in care.”

In the UK as whole, there are over 2 million social care workers and 7 million more unpaid carers in the UK today. With each carer supporting at least one person, over a quarter of the UK population is either providing or receiving care outside of hospital every day.

The daily impact of care is even greater, given the significant number of family members of those working in or receiving care, as well as the suppliers and employees that assist the sector. Carers deliver this high-quality support each day, no matter if it’s a holiday for others or if the weather is adverse and travel is difficult. Unfortunately, they often do so without the public interest and support that other professionals reasonably enjoy.

The CARE badge CIC is administered and managed for free by everyLIFE Technologies who also donated the first 20,000 badges. To date, over 87,000 badges have been distributed. All profits from the sale of CARE badges are given to care related charities, suggested by care workers and carers and overseen by a CARE badge CIC charity committee.

Press Information about everyLIFE Technologies, co-founders of CARE badge

everyLIFE Scotland:

everyLIFE Technologies, a leading provider of care planning and delivery software, is led in Scotland by Director, Duncan Campbell.

everyLIFEprovides the “PASSsystem” suite of care-planning software and apps to the UK’s homecare, reablement and residential care sectors. Provided on a SaaS basis since February 2015 and on a monthly payment structure, the PASSsystem is used by ~700 care businesses throughout the UK.

The PASSsystem digital care planning and management platform provides a single view of care records in real time on both desktop and mobile devices. From initial enquiry and service user assessment through medications (MAR charts), task changes to outcome reviews, PASSsystem automates care management processes while promoting safe medicines administration.

“openPASS” is a sister application that provides consented customers, family members and additional health professionals with inclusive access to real-time care plans and records in the PASSsystem.

Together, everyLIFE’s PASSsystem and openPASS are proven* to:

  • better manage risk
  • realise business efficiencies
  • aid delivery of high-quality care
  • demonstrate accountability to services users, families and regulators

everyLIFE is a Founding Member of the Care Software Providers Association (CASPA).

* Improving care through digital care planning: An evaluation of the PASSsystem by the Social Care Institute for Excellence. SCIE March 2019. Available at

Scottish Care:

Scottish Care is a membership organisation and the representative body for independent sector social care services in Scotland, covering private, charitable and not for profit social care organisations.

We represent over 400 organisations, which totals almost 1000 individual services, delivering residential care, nursing care, day care, care at home and housing support services.

Our membership includes organisations of varying types and sizes, amongst them single providers, small and medium sized groups, national providers and family run services.

Our members deliver a wide range of registered services for older people as well as those with long term conditions, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, dementia or mental health problems.

In Scotland, the independent social care sector contributes to:

  • The employment of over 103,000 people, which is more than half of the total social services workforce, including approximately 5,000 nurses
  • The provision of 88% of care home places for older people
  • The delivery of over 55% of home care hours for older people

About the Care Home Conference:

Over 400 day delegates are expected to attend including care providers, local authority, NHS and Scottish Government colleagues.   This event is the only one of its kind in Scotland specifically for the care home sector and, whilst organised by Scottish Care, is very much a cross-sector event.  The conference is now in its twentieth year.

The conference contains a mixture of key contributions. Through creative, business-focused, practical and policy sessions, the event will focus on the significant role care home services play in ensuring individuals are able to remain connected to their communities and the criticality of their involvement in shaping Scotland’s future health and social care system.

The conference will address current challenges in the sector including workforce shortages, Brexit and the sustainability of the care home sector. There will also be a range of innovative approaches and tech products showcased to help people in their every day care practice.

A number of resources will be launched at the conference:

  • New Scottish Care conference paper – Essential care: the critical role of care homes
  • A hints and tips guide on supporting people with visual impairment from Royal Blind, in partnership with Scottish Care
  • The formal launch of the CARE Badge in Scotland

The conference hashtags are #essentialcare and #carehome19

Genesis of the CARE badge:

The CARE badge was born on the 19th March 2019, while listening to Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, highlight the challenges faced providing care and the unfortunate message that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care inadvertently sends to those involved by only wearing an NHS lapel badge. The Chairman of everyLIFE Technologies, sitting in the audience turned to his colleague and said, “We should work with them to change that”.

How to get CARE badges: 

The CARE badge is sold to companies, charities and other organisations by the CARE badge CIC (community interest company). Badges are not sold to the public directly. Badge purchasers are both from the care community as well as national corporations and organisations, such as supermarkets, manufacturers, service industries etc., interested in supporting care workers and the carers in their own workforce.

Badges are distributed for free to employees and customers i.e. badges are not for resale. Badge purchasers are also given the right to use the CARE badge logo in their marketing materials to highlight how much they CARE.

Organisations with few employees or customer outlets can donate purchased badges to the CARE badge “pool”These will be distributed on their behalf to individual carers for free by the CARE badge CIC at care-related events.

Order details can be found on Badges cost £1 including P&P (plus VAT when applicable). There is a minimum order size of £100, with a choice of three fixing styles; butterfly pin, magnetic and brooch to suit both care and non-care settings.

All profits from selling CARE badges go to care-related charities:

The CARE badge CIC is administered and managed for free by everyLIFE Technologies who also donated the first 20,000 badges and 1,000 display trays. Costs incurred are therefore limited to the cost of badges, packaging and postage. All profits from the sale of CARE badges are distributed to care related charities, suggested and voted for online by care workers and carers and overseen by a CARE badge CIC charity committee.

Find out more: 

The website ( carries background, details of our growing community of partners, and how to order the CARE badge. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are live with @theCAREbadge and #badge4CARE. Please post pictures of individuals and teams showing how much they CARE.

Feel free to get in touch by emailing [email protected].

News Release: Care Home Conference 2019 – Essential care: the critical role of care homes

“Essential care: the critical role of care homes”


Scotland has to get serious about valuing social care or risk losing the vital services, jobs, social and economic contributions it provides.

The message will be delivered at the National Care Home Conference in Glasgow today (FRI NOV 15) by Dr Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care, the representative body for the country’s independent social care services. The 450 delegate event – the largest event of its kind in the UK - which is sponsored by the Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank, will include an address by Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport Jeane Freeman.

Unveiling a new report of the same title as the conference - ‘Essential care: the critical role of care homes” - Dr Macaskill said:

A Scotland that invests in its people invests in care.

“The care sector is a people sector. It is also a sector that contributes massively to the Scottish economy - more than Agriculture, forestry and fishing and many other sectors.

“So why is it that we have so little focus on the need to invest in and grow the care sector? Why does it feel like businesses that care - that employ thousands of people, that are economic engines and care centres at the heart of our villages and towns - continually feel as if they are having to beg new resource, scrimp and save and be apologetic for asking for more? 

“We need to get serious. We either want a world leading care sector with the best possible rights-based care or we want just enough, the sufficient, the it’ll just have to do approach.

“If we are serious about being a country that cares, then let’s grow the sector, let’s invest time, energy and resource in being the best; let’s change the record from it costing too much to contributing so much; let’s invest to ensure survival and sustainability, growth and cutting edge innovation; let’s invest in care by creating a special economic task force to make social care an economic priority .

“Let’s get serious about care or let’s finally stop pretending that we care - and be honest with those who are our most vulnerable and needy.”

The report details the role that care homes play in contributing to Scottish society and citizen wellbeing, in areas such as ethical technology, upholding human rights and tackling social isolation and loneliness.  It highlights that social care is the eighth largest employment sector in Scotland, with nearly 54,000 individuals working in care home services.  With over 1,100 care homes supporting over 33,000 older people in communities across Scotland, the report outlines the ways in which care homes:

  • give people back a sense of community and connectedness where this has often been lost through isolation and ill health
  • prioritise the respect and dignity of all residents in their practice
  • provide companionship as well as complex health and social care support to individuals with a wide range of conditions
  • challenge perceptions of what older people can offer and achieve.

Warning of the dangers of continuing to underfund social care, Dr Macaskill will tell delegates:

“We need to get serious. We either want a world leading care sector with the best possible rights-based care or we want just enough, the sufficient, the ‘it’ll just have to do’ approach.

“If we are serious about being a country that cares, then let’s grow the sector, let’s invest time, energy and resource in being the best; let’s change the record from it costing too much to contributing so much; let’s invest to ensure survival and sustainability, growth and cutting edge innovation; let’s invest in care by creating a special economic task force to make social care an economic priority .

To politicians and health and social care partnerships, he will say:

“Let’s get serious about care or let’s finally stop pretending that we care - and be honest with those who require support in our country’s care homes.”

Derek Breingan, Head of Health & Social Care Sector at Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank, who sponsor the care home conference added:

“Never has the role of care homes been more crucial for our ageing population with the rise in longevity and increasing ability to live with complex medical and physical conditions.  The diversity of the Scottish demographics and the geography of our country also add an element of challenge. 

“As strong supporters of the sector Clydesdale Bank is delighted to be working with Scottish Care to contribute to ensuring that care homes remain integral to the future of health and wellbeing for our society and also will provide a stable and rewarding workplace for those dedicated to delivering quality care.

Updated guidance to support the real living wage commitment for adult social care workers

Below is a letter from Ms Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, and Cllr Peter Johnston, COSLA Health and Social Care Spokesperson, with updated guidance on the shared commitment to support payment of the real Living Wage to everyone delivering adult social care in Scotland.  The guidance has been developed by the Living Wage in Care Implementation Group which was established to support. The group comprises representatives from Scottish Government, COSLA, Coalition of Care and Support Providers (CCPS), Scottish Care, the STUC and Integration Authorities.

Guidance to support real living wage commitment - Letter from Scottish Government COSLA October 2019 - final PDF
Guidance to Support Commitment of the Real Living Wage for Adult Social Care Workers October 2019 - final PDF copy

News release: Call for action as people with sight loss miss out on Self-directed Support

Research by Scotland’s biggest sight loss charity Royal Blind has revealed low awareness among blind and partially sighted people of the Scottish Government’s flagship social care policy.  The findings have prompted fears that people with sight loss who could benefit from Self-directed Support are missing out, and led to a joint call from Royal Blind and Scottish Care for Scottish Ministers to take action to ensure people living with visual impairment are aware of their right to benefit from the policy.

Royal Blind surveyed over 100 people with sight loss to get their views and experiences of Self-directed Support. The charity found that:

    • Almost two thirds of people with sight loss participating in the survey had not heard of Self-directed Support.
    • Only five respondents to the survey had a support plan funded through Self-directed Support.
    • Over 60% of respondents had never been informed of the budget available to them for their care and support.

The research follows previous findings published by Audit Scotland in 2017 which reported that at least 53,000 people were accessing Self-directed Support, but more people should benefit from the policy and more information should be available on how to apply.

Royal Blind and Scottish Care are now calling on the Scottish Government to take further action to raise awareness of Self-directed Support including through providing accessible information on the policy for people with visual impairment. The organisations are also urging local authorities to develop plans to increase access to Self-directed Support for people with visual impairment, including through providing more training to staff on supporting people with sight loss to have the information they need on the policy.

Mark O’Donnell, Chief Executive of Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded said:

“Self Directed Support is a great policy initiative by the Scottish Government which could benefit thousands of people living with sight loss. That is why it is so disappointing that there appears to be low awareness of the policy among blind and partially sighted people, and also why we are backing the call by Scottish Care for more action to raise awareness that it is available. With the numbers of people with sight loss in Scotland set to increase significantly, it is vital they can access the specialist care they need and have access to Self-directed Support which can help them live well with visual impairment.”

Dr Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive Officer of Scottish Care said:

“Self-directed Support is one of the most progressive pieces of law in Scotland. It gives people choice and control over their care and their lives. It is therefore hugely disappointing that five years on since it started this survey shows that hundreds perhaps thousands of older Scots with a visual impairment they are not benefiting from these rights. The excuses from local authorities and Integrated Joint Boards are running out and we are left with the conclusion that this human rights based policy is being consciously ignored, blocked and underfunded, or that only those who shout the loudest are being given choice and control.

There is little point in having fantastic legislation if there are is a collective failure to put it into practice. There is little point in having rights under the law if the obstacles to exercising those rights are growing every day.

Scotland needs to get serious about the denial of the human rights of our fellow citizens with visual impairment.”



Note to editors

1.Details of the survey by Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded:

    • The survey was promoted to people with sight loss using Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded services in August and September. Responses were from people with visual impairment or a carer or family member on their behalf. There were 110 respondents to the survey, although not all respondents answered all questions.
    • 109 people responded to the question “have you heard of Self-Directed Support.” 68 (62%) said they had not.
    • 81 people answered the question “Are you currently receiving care services” with almost half (39 people) stating that they were.
    • Only 5 respondents said they had a support plan funded through Self-Directed Support. Four of the five people who received care through Self-Directed Support said the system had worked well for them.
    • Around a fifth (19%) of respondents felt SDS was something they could benefit from, while 57% did not know whether they would.
    • Around a third (30%) of respondents said they had been given an explanation of SDS options, while 60% said they had not had the options explained to them.
    • A majority (63%) of respondents had never been informed of the budget available to them for their care and support.

2. Royal Blind is Scotland’s largest visual impairment organisation. We create life changing opportunities for visually impaired children and adults from across Scotland and the rest of the UK with the following services: The Royal Blind School and Learning Hub, Adult Services, Care for Older People, the Scottish Braille Press and Kidscene After School and Holiday

3. Royal Blind’s sister charity is Scottish War Blinded. Together, we operate as the Royal Blind Group. Each organisation has its own management, and both are overseen by the Royal Blind Board and Chief Executive.

Latest blog from our CEO: Time to raise awareness of Self-directed Support

Reform of our health and social care services cannot only be an ambition but is an urgent requirement. The recent annual report from the Auditor General on NHS Scotland made this extremely clear. If we are to meet the current and future health and care needs of our country, we have to change how we deliver care and treatment, with more services based in our communities, meeting individual care needs. Audit Scotland’s annual report said the NHS was “seriously struggling to become financially sustainable” and the Auditor General Caroline Gardner said the integration of health and social care was too slow and staff were under intense pressure. The conclusion was that Scotland could face a £1.8bn shortfall in less than five years if it is not reformed. Change is urgently needed but the pace of change is too slow. We have achieved a consensus on the need to integrate health and social care services and reform social care. Health and Social Care Partnerships have been established to bring about more effective collaboration, but progress is patchy. Yet by embracing rather than resisting reform of health and social care, we have the opportunity for transformational change which will benefit the thousands of people in our country who are supported by care services. For me social care has always been profoundly about human rights. It is about giving the citizen control and choice, voice and agency, decision and empowerment. These principles underpin the Scottish Government’s flagship social policy of Self-directed Support, which seeks to give people more control over the care services they receive.  The policy means local authorities now have a legal duty to offer people eligible for social care four options on how to use their personal budget. The four options are direct payments; an Individual Service Fund held by the local authority and allocated to a provider of your choice; the local authority arranging support on your behalf; or a mix of these options. Human rights and social care practice come together in our Self-directed Support legislation in Scotland which unapologetically grew out of the independent living movement of the learning and physical disabled communities in the 1970s. With the closure of large-scale institutions there was an emphasis on enabling individuals to live more independent lives. Policies and practice at the time and since emphasised the importance of building social care supports around the life of the individual rather than expecting the individual to fit into what services were available. A one size fits all approach was replaced by the urge to develop and offer bespoke individual services and supports. A personalised approach has the potential to benefit and empower people with a range of conditions and care needs. This is why we have been keen to assess levels of awareness of Self-directed support among those groups of people who could potentially benefit most. We have been working with Royal Blind to research awareness of Self-directed Support among people with visual impairment. People living with sight loss require care which meets their specific needs to enable them to flourish and foster their full contribution. Self-directed Support offers them the potential to ensure they are provided with specialist support, equipment and accessible information to help them live well with visual impairment. There are around 188,000 people in Scotland living with significant sight loss, around three quarters of whom are over 65, and this number is projected to increase to over 200,000 by 2030. This means Scotland requires a social care system which can support an increasing number of people with sight loss. Self-directed Support has the potential to benefit thousands of people with sight loss, enabling many to maintain their independence and live at home for longer. So it is disappointing to learn that there is low awareness of Self-directed Support among many people with sight loss. Over 100 people with sight loss were surveyed by Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded to learn their views and experiences of Self-directed Support. When asked the question “have you heard of Self-directed Support,” two thirds of respondents said they had not. Only five respondents said they had a support plan funded through Self-directed Support.  Over 60 percent of respondents had never been informed of the budget available to them for their care and support. If I am living with a lifelong condition or need support in any way because of life circumstances or age then I most certainly do want to have more choice and control both over who is in my life as a carer and what the nature of that support and care might be. The critical importance of legislation like Self-directed Support is all about embedding that control and choice, building those rights with the citizen including fiscal and budgetary control. This is why it so frustrating that for too many people, including people with sight loss, the promise of Self-directed Support is not being realised. The legislation is now in its fifth year – bedding down should have long since passed. The excuses are running out and we are left with the conclusion that this human rights-based policy is being consciously ignored, blocked and underfunded, or that only those who shout the loudest are being given choice and control. We are still defaulting to models and a provision of assessment and care which too often do not meet individual need and are economically unsustainable.  This situation needs to change urgently if we are to secure sustainable models of care and the rights of people accessing care services to be fully included in our communities. There is little point in having fantastic legislation if there are is a collective failure to put it into practice. There is little point in having rights under the law if the obstacles to exercising those rights are growing every day. Dr Donald Macaskill  CEO @DrDMacaskill

Exploring and Developing Palliative and End of Life Care

The Scottish Government vision is that by 2021 everyone in Scotland will have access to high quality palliative and end of life care no matter where they are cared for – at home, in the community, in residential care, in hospital or in a hospice. For this to happen there is a need for staff in all areas to become more confident in delivering end of life care that helps people to live well and die well and to meet individualised needs and wishes.

The University of the Highlands and Islands has developed a new continuing professional development award for health and social care workers that is designed to provide candidates with the  knowledge and skills base set out in the NHS Education for Scotland Palliative and End of Life Framework for staff who regularly provide care and support to people with palliative and end of life care needs, their families and carers. This is a SCQF Level 7 award (HNC/ first year undergraduate level) and has a nominal 200 hours of learning over 15 weeks, which equates to 20 credits. The award will be delivered online using the university virtual learning environment. Online learning may seem a little daunting, but candidates will be fully supported by an online tutor who will guide students through the content and assessments. Studying online allows students to study at a time and place that fits in with their work and family commitments.

The first presentation of the course will start in January 2020. We are pleased to advise that there will be a limited number of free places funded by the Scottish Funding Council for this first cohort of students.

If you are interested in undertaking this award, then please discuss this with your line manager. If you wish to know more about the award or need further details, please contact Jacqui Allison at Perth College UHI – [email protected].

Palliative Care A5 leaflet (003)

To Absent Friends festival

What is it?

To Absent Friends is a people’s festival of storytelling and remembrance. It aims to reignite traditions of remembering the dead as a way to support those who are experiencing grief and bereavement and to encourage greater openness about death and dying.

Why is it happening?

Everyone has a story to tell of someone who is dead who they miss – a grandparent who had a fascinating life; a friend with a unique sense of humour; a child who loved to dance.

A person’s death does not lessen the meaning of the relationship we have with them.

But our culture doesn’t really support active remembrance of dead people. Talking openly about someone who is dead can often cause discomfort or embarrassment.

In a culture where death is seen as being too morbid, too difficult or too disturbing to mention, how do we remember and pay our respects to the dead?

When is it?

It takes place from 1-7 November 2019

Where is it?

Public events are taking place across Scotland, but people can also get involved via the To Absent Friends website and on social media.

Who is organising it?

The festival forms part of a year round initiative called Good Life Good Death Good Grief, led by the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.

What is happening?

Public events have been planned by various organisations and community groups across Scotland, beginning with a launch with an illuminated lilies garden at Dundee University on Thursday 31 October. Other events include cafes of reminiscence, poetry nights, concerts and craft workshops. For a full list see the event listings on the website.

How can I get involved?

If you’re doing anything for To Absent Friends, please share it on social media with the hashtag #ToAbsentFriends and copy us in. We’re also asking people to join in online in the following ways:

Profile Pictures – During the week, we’re asking people to change their profile pictures to someone who has died, and to update their status/tweet to say why.

Remembrance Playlist – Remember someone through a song. On the To Absent Friends website, we are collating a list of musical tributes to absent friends. Visit the website and send in your suggestions of a song.

Wall of Remembrance – For those who want to leave an anonymous tribute to someone they have lost, there is a place on the website for them to do so. 

Online Storytelling – We have an online space for people to share longer stories about those they love who have died.

Please encourage people to participate in these activities via social media using the links above. We have prepared graphics you can share alongside them which can be accessed via Dropbox:

How do I get in touch?


Twitter: @2absentfriends

Hashtag: #ToAbsentFriends

E-mail: [email protected]

The team at To Absent Friends would love to hear from you if you are holding an event or have an act of remembrance which you wish to share.