Scottish Care welcomes the publication of the report on Self-directed Support by Audit Scotland.
As a membership organisation representing providers who deliver care and support to the majority of older people who use services in Scotland, Scottish Care has long campaigned for the ability of older Scots to be able to access their full rights and entitlements.
Self-directed Support offers a very real potential for individuals to become much more in control of their care and the budget allocated to meet their needs. Regretfully this report highlights the many barriers and obstacles which still exist and which are today preventing Scotland’s older citizens from exercising their rights. We are disappointed, however, that even the report has nothing to say about the 33,000 older Scots in residential and nursing care homes who are currently not accessing Self-directed Support options. This is a serious omission.
It is simply unacceptable that years after the start of this legislation we are still encountering too many individuals being denied their full rights.
Scottish Care calls upon all partners to work deliberately and energetically to achieving the ambitions of this legislation.
Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care said:
“This report is an indictment on the failure of the social care system at local Government and Integrated Joint Board level to adequately support the rights of older Scots to access choice and control over their care.
“The current Scottish Government has led on this pioneering policy and has invested significant additional resource at local authority level to enable the change to happen. We do not believe that resource has been well used. The report clearly indicates that the failures thus far lie squarely at the door of our local authorities and their partners in the Integrated Joint Boards. It is deeply regrettable that practices still remain at local authority level, especially the way procurement and commissioning happens, which breach this legislation and act against the rights of older Scots.
“It is simply not acceptable to pass legislation then sit back and see what happens. SDS requires that both national and local Government and its officials robustly engage in the radical change of culture and practice that puts the individual citizen at the centre of their care. This has simply not happened. Control and therefore the power to direct your care and support remains stubbornly in the hands of officials in local authority social work, procurement and finance departments. Self-directed Support demands control is given to the citizen.
“I still frequently come across instances where there is an assumption that Self-directed Support is an option, a last consideration, an added luxury. Well it is none of these – it is the law, and the only route by which individuals accessing social care should be supported.
“The Audit Scotland report shows what needs to be done. Innovative and transformative legislation requires leadership at local and national level. The older citizens of Scotland whom I meet are rightly demanding an end of the resistance to them having choice and control. I hope we don’t have to wait for yet another Plan to put into practice what is already the law. It is time for all partners to start properly implementing this legislation and to make the changes that are required.”