Media Release: Open letter from Inclusion Scotland & Scottish Care on the National Care Service

Inclusion Scotland and Scottish Care have coordinated an open letter which calls for the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care. The letter arises out of concerns that the vision of the Report risks being diluted and diminished. The signatories of the letter are concerned that the current status quo which has clearly failed those who receive social care supports, unpaid carers and providers of care is in danger of continuing because of the desire of local authorities to retain existing fiscal and governance controls.

Inclusion Scotland said:

“As with many working within social care, disabled people and their unpaid carers have long been frustrated at the number of well-intentioned plans, programmes and visions that have resulted in little to no change in how they access support to achieve their human rights. The fundamental flaws in the system remain and have further entrenched inequality of access to support during the pandemic, causing untold misery and costs.

Human rights should never be a matter of cost or scales of priority but need to be progressed and met for people on an equal basis, whoever they are and wherever they live. Feeley’s vision provides a blueprint for achieving this and disabled people are ready to co-produce the report’s recommendations at every level. We would like to see broad commitment to the report as until now local democracy has not been accountable for people needing adult social care support, nor does it comprehend its full value and purpose to both the individual and society at large.”

Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care commented:

“This letter expresses the very real concern from those who provide care services and those who use them that the vision of a National Care Service is in danger of not happening because of the desire of local authorities to retain much of their existing control and influence. The Report after extensive engagement told us that the system is broken. We have known this for a long time. The significant and systematic changes that need to take place where we have the creation of a National Care Service but with local accountability cannot be negotiated away between national and local government. The voice of those who matter most –  those who use supports, who deliver unpaid care and those who professionally provide that care cannot be drowned out by a desire to resist change. The pain of the pandemic demands us to build a new future not to simply tinker with the models of the past.”

Dr Jim Elder-Woodward commented:

“It is clear that the Feeley Review has listened not just to people working within social care, but those in receipt of social care, who have the lived experience of its outputs.  We all agree the system is broken.  There needs to be a fresh start, with national accountability and local implementation. We need an independent complaints system and access to redress, we currently have neither. There needs to be a fresh new culture dedicated to supporting people’s human rights.  But, most importantly there needs to be that voice of lived experience is heard, not just at the table, but from the top of the table.  However, we also fear that this brand new world will not happen.  This broken system will just continue – with one or two peripheral tweaks, which will make no real difference at all.  The people of Scotland must stop this from happening.”