Lord Sutherland of Houndwood

Lord Stewart Sutherland of Houndwood, (born February 25, 1941, died January 29th, 2018) 

It is with the deepest sadness that we have to report the death of our former Honorary President, Lord Stewart Sutherland of Houndwood.

Stewart Sutherland was a man of astonishing intellectual breadth and vigour, who wore that intelligence lightly and openly. He was a major contributor to the study of the philosophy of religion, held numerous academic posts both as a teacher and as an administrator, most significantly in his role as Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh University where he had such a dramatic impact. Latterly he was a significant contributor to the work of the House of Lords. Her Majesty the Queen recognised his distinctive gifts and contribution by appointing him to be a Knight of the Order of the Thistle in 2002.

However, he is perhaps best known for his chairing of the Royal Commission on Long-Term Care of the Elderly, which issued its report in 1999. Its main recommendation, which was later taken up by the Scottish Government, was that all nursing and personal care should be provided free by the Government. His legacy of Free Personal Care, with its extension to the under 65s in Scotland next year, has been a major contribution to social care in Scotland. He was also amongst the first to call for the alignment of health and social care budgets, together with social security benefits, especially for the elderly.

He was in his engagement with Scottish Care committed to ensuring the development of a properly resourced and funded care system which upheld the rights and dignity of older people in Scotland. He cared about the realities that staff often struggled with the demands of their intensive jobs, and he cared that the lack of resources and funding made the job of care all that harder. In one conversation, I remember him saying to me that the heroes of Scotland are those whose daily task in caring for another goes unheard and unheralded.

We will remember with fondness his gentle and direct chairing of our conferences even whilst ill, his pithy and quiet humour, his willingness to be kept up to date and to be informed about the realities of a care system increasingly under challenge and threat.

A passionate advocate for equality, fairness and a great friend to Scottish Care he will be sorely missed. It was his desire for the creation of a system of care which treats each individual according to their need and which would create a Scotland which had care at its centre, that his friends at Scottish Care will seek to continue to struggle for. His voice may now be silent but his words of wisdom around equality in care echo still in everyone who heard him.

Our thoughts are with his wife Sheena and his family at this time.

Dr Donald Macaskill

CEO, Scottish Care

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