National Annual Care Home Conference Report (Full)


“Care Homes at the Heart”

Report on Scottish Care National Care Home Conference 2016

2016 has been a year of significant transition in the care sector with a variety of positive outcomes and developments in the sector yet also the continuation of a number of challenges.

One thing that is clear is the determination of those who operate within the sector to continue to strive forwards.

This year the Scottish Care National Care Home Conference focussed on the theme “Care Homes at the Heart”, with speakers exploring the place of care homes at the heart of the community.

Conference took place on Friday 18th November at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow and attracted a record 480 delegates and over 80 exhibition stands. The level of interest in attending and exhibiting at Conference is increasing, with attendance growing each year.

The Annual Conference is the biggest and best attended event of its kind in Scotland, attracting a wide range of stakeholders including independent care sector organisations, Scottish Government, health and social care partnerships, regulatory bodies and private businesses.

With over 80% of care homes as members of the organisation, Scottish Care is the leading representative body for care homes in Scotland and the Conference is a must on the event calendar.


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Conference began with a welcome from the morning Chair Lord Sutherland, who warmly welcomed all in attendance to Conference and remarked on the growth of numbers at the event as well as highlighting the sincere dedication and professionalism of those who work in the sector.

We then had a welcome from Conference Sponsor the Clydesdale Bank, represented by Derek Breingan, the head of Health and Social Care Sector UK. Mr Breingan told Conference:

“The care sector is incredibly important to the Scottish economy and plays a valuable role in communities across the country. Despite the challenges, care providers are investing, innovating and enhancing the services they provide to continue delivering excellent levels of care. We’ve been working with care providers for many years and, as a very important part of our business, Clydesdale Bank is delighted to be partnering with Scottish Care and to be involved in this event which provides a fantastic platform to promote Scotland’s care home sector.”

Scottish Care recently entered into a partnership agreement with the Clydesdale Bank for a period of 3 years. The agreement will see the organisations work together for the benefit of the independent care sector in Scotland with the bank supporting a number of Scottish Care events and initiatives.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing & Sport Shona Robison addressed Conference delegates next, praising dedicated front line nursing staff as well as innovative practices and high quality care taking place across the sector in Scotland.

The Cabinet Secretary praised Scottish Care for the Voices from the Front Line Nursing Report and highlighted that she was committed to listening to the voices and views of the frontline workforce.


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Scottish Care CEO Dr Donald Macaskill officially launched the Voices from the Front Line Nursing Report along with front line nurse Nancyanne Smith. The report is based on interviews with 28 nurses working in the independent sector, and shares their joys, frustrations and aspirations in their roles through their own voices.  It sets out 10 recommendations which Scottish Care hopes to progress in partnership with other organisations.

The report has enabled Scottish Care to gain a unique and extremely valuable insight into the day to day achievements and challenges faced by those working in the care sector.

Dr Macaskill thanked the efforts of Nancyanne and her colleagues across the sector for their contributions towards the report, as well as for their efforts in providing high levels of quality care every day throughout the independent care sector in Scotland.

Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie gave an impassioned and moving speech about care homes at the heart of Primary Care, the need to work together in the sector and the need to ensure we are open to working together as well as moving forwards as a sector together. Sir Lewis Ritchie highlighted the “importance of good leadership and innovation within the social care sector”.

Christina West, Chief Officer of the Argyll & Bute Health and Social Care Partnership spoke on care homes at the heart of integrated care in Scotland.

The presentation highlighted key attributes needed to contribute towards making high level integrated care a reality in addition to the importance of developing relationships in the sector based on shared ambition, values and culture.

Ms West spoke of a whole system approach to quality of care; a need to work together, understand one another’s roles and a need to best make use of resources – funding and people. The Chief Officer also highlighted examples of innovative practice across the country drawing from several examples of innovative care and forward thinking.

Brand new for Conference were the Insight Sessions, a series of workshops which gave delegates the opportunity to attend a session of their choice. Insight Sessions were delivered by organisations including Alzheimer Scotland, Luminate which looked at the use of arts in care, the Care Inspectorate who looked in depth at activity and falls in the care home and Spiritual Care delivered by Jenny Henderson.

Scottish Care delivered two of the insight sessions with Katharine Ross and Becca Gatherum leading the Workforce Matters session and Margaret McKeith delivering the Partners for Integration session. The insight sessions were a hugely popular part of Conference this year with all sessions quickly filled in advance. A huge thanks to all the presenters and organisations who delivered Insight Sessions this year.

After lunch we had a welcome from the afternoon Chair, Annie Gunner Logan, Director of the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS).

Conference was treated to a public premiere and world first public viewing of a film created by the BAFTA award winning Scottish documentary maker, Duncan Cowles. ‘Directed by North Merchiston’ is series of five short films made with residents at North Merchiston Care Home.   You can watch Duncan’s films at

Led by Duncan Cowles, each resident was encouraged to take control of the filmmaking process and decide upon the direction and what content they’d like to be included within the films. ‘Directed by North Merchiston’ was commissioned by Scottish Care and Luminare as part of the Luminate Creative Ageing Festival.

There was not a dry eye in the house as delegates were treated to a wonderful screening of a selection of the films, which provide a unique insight into life in a care home and proved to be a memorable part of the day. We are hugely proud to have commissioned Duncan to make this wonderful project in partnership with Luminate.


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Dr Martin Wilson from Raigmore Hospital then gave a moving and engaging presentation on care homes at the heart of Palliative Care. Dr Wilson talked about assets in delivering palliative care as well as changing attitudes and perceptions through education about the need to prepare for requiring palliative care.

Dr Wilson said that “By 2030, 230,000 people in UK will need > 20 hours care a week” and that we should be prepared for realistically delivering this care in future.

Next up, an interview with the Care Inspectorate which saw Rami Okasha and Kevin Mitchell join Carlyn Miller from Scottish Care for a special panel focussing on care homes at the heart of Human Rights based regulation.

The panel reflected on the new National Care Standards and how they would best be employed across the sector.

Rami and Kevin also discussed new models of inspection with delegates and stated that “consistency is the greatest challenge for any inspection body’.


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Sally Loudon, Chief Executive of COSLA gave a presentation titled Care Homes at the Heart of Reform in which she told delegates that “we are all at a time of transformation and change” whilst also taking the opportunity to praise the long standing relationship between COSLA and Scottish Care.

Ms Loudon spoke about the reform of the Care Home Contract and highlighted the “need to continuously innovate and improve outcomes for people”.

Discussion of the issues surrounding recruitment and staff retention in the sector were focussed upon and Ms Loudon highlighted to delegates that “COSLA will continue to support, lead and drive reform work with you all as a critical issue and shared challenge.”

Award winning poet Ken Cockburn presented an original poem to Conference entitled Shared Stakes which he had written inspired by events of the day, taking inspiration from the themes, speakers and delegates of the day. You can read Ken’s poem here.


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Final comments were given by Dr Donald Macaskill, who summed up some of the main themes of the day in addition to thanking delegates, speakers and exhibitors for their attendance at the 2016 National Care Home Conference.

Dr Macaskill told Conference: “Sometimes change is not always welcome and reform is seen as uncomfortable but we have a real opportunity to shape the way we reform for the people who matter the most, which is not only those who provide services but those who use services.”

Dr Macaskill highlighted the Voices from the Front Line Nursing Report and the Independent Sector Nursing Data Report, “Our two reports launched this morning attempt to highlight the unique issues that we are currently facing. We have to address these issues in the short term as we need to dramatically increase the intake of nurses in Scotland.”

In thanking delegates and all in attendance Dr Macaskill said:

“Partners, dialogue and collaboration all help to ensure survival and success in sector that we are a part of.”

Referencing the earlier mentioned Care Home Week Dr Macaskill said: “We need to challenge the stereotypes of care homes.”

Ending on a note of togetherness and collaboration Dr Macaskill praised Conference by saying: “Today has been creative, it’s been about change and it’s been about challenge, that we all face together and will endure together. Thank you to everyone who has facilitated and led our insight sessions today, thank you to our delegates and exhibitors, thank you Conference.”

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