Provider representatives of home care providers say insufficient progress has been made in ensuring care services are safe and sustainable for Scotland’s older citizens and as a result, the sector is facing imminent demise.
The message will be delivered at the National Care at Home & Housing Support Conference in Glasgow today (FRI MAY 17) by Dr Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care, the representative body for the country’s independent social care services. The 250 delegate event, which is sponsored by Quality Compliance Systems, will include an address by Cabinet Secretary for Health & Sport Jeane Freeman.
Unveiling a briefing paper based on his Conference Address – ‘A Care Twilight Zone” – Dr Macaskill said:
“We believe the truth and robustness of our arguments for rebalancing care are clear and demonstrable. We believe passionately that the potential of homecare to re-shape care and support in Scotland is undeniable.
“But we seem to talk in places where no-one is listening; we look around us and see care organisations going to the wall with disturbing regularity; where a growing number of providers are saying they simply cannot afford to work with the public sector in Scotland because of the increasing desire to pay less for more and to drive down the costs of care. Faced with that landscape evidencing a general state of care economic and delivery decline and dilapidation across the country, in my estimation, we are undeniably in a care twilight zone.”
In his address, Dr Macaskill will highlight nine key areas where urgent work is required to stabilize the home care sector in Scotland:
- The Scottish Living Wage
- Time & task commissioning of care
- Approaches to prevention
- Access to Self-Directed Support for older people
- Recruitment of staff
- Qualifications and the older care workforce
- Integration of health & social care
- The use of technology
- Funding of social care
This week Scottish Care has written to COSLA calling for an urgent roundtable including the Scottish Government and the care regulator to address the immediate challenges facing the care at home and housing support sector.
Dr Macaskill said:
“We believe we urgently need to get round the table to come up with some practical solutions or we will not be able to continue to deliver vital services in the months ahead.
“We believe that we have to have a serious debate about how we are to fund social care into our futures, and I wonder if the silence to date is not indicative of a political desire to hide heads in the sand the closer we come to elections?
“We remain deeply concerned that there is a lack of political energy beyond political party interest and ambition to gather around the table and properly explore how we will fund social care in the short and medium term.
“We have to stop talking about and start implementing the change. We have a sector which is on its knees and it is way beyond the point of putting out the begging bowl for the scraps of finance left over when other sectors and issues are funded.”
Scottish Care is a membership organisation and the representative body for independent sector social care services in Scotland and speaks with a single unified voice for small, medium and large providers across the independent care sector. This covers private and voluntary sector care home, care at home and housing support services, and also includes those who use independent sector care services.
Independent and voluntary sector providers combined employ nearly 100,000 social care staff, with nearly 71,000 of these individuals working in Housing Support and Care at Home services.
Each night of the week, home care providers support nearly 50,000 individuals in their own homes, most with increasingly complex needs.
The social care sector plays an important part in the Scottish economy, providing employment for over 202,000 people and generating an annual turnover of several billion pounds.
You can follow the Conference on Twitter using the hashtag #homecare19