Joint statement: Scottish Government’s Winter Plan ‘offers no hope for social care’

Our CEO Rachel Cackett and Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care, respond to this week’s publication of the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Winter Preparedness Plan 2023-24

As the CEOs of Scotland’s two major umbrella bodies representing providers of care and support in the third and independent sectors we are dismayed to see yet another Winter Plan which purports to be a whole system response for Scottish citizens but in fact offers almost no hope for social care.

Both of our organisations have attempted to convince both the Scottish Government and CoSLA that the plan was wholly insufficient to address the deep crisis facing our members and a system that is meant to uphold the rights of individuals who require care and support.

We have tried to be constructive in those discussions to which we have been invited, but have certainly not been engaged in any way as equal partners in finding solutions for a system in which our members deliver key public services for some of our country’s most vulnerable individuals and families. This document reflects that. The marginal changes made to an early draft following our strong criticisms do not allay the fundamental concerns we shared.

In particular, we note a deeply disturbing direction for social care providers and, ultimately, for those who rely on services to maintain independence and connection and prevent crisis:

Where necessary, local systems will prioritise social care and support services for those who need it most and are considered to be at a critical or substantial risk level.

In the current climate, where we already see social care budgets being depressed to the detriment of people and, indeed the wider system, we fear this will be read as carte blanche to remove or reduce funding for many people who need support. This cannot be allowed to happen.

We hope that the Cabinet Secretary and CoSLA leaders will clarify their intentions in including this statement and do significantly more to underline their commitment to a thriving social care system for which they wish to share accountability through a National Care Service.

Rachel Cackett, CEO, CCPS, and Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO, Scottish Care

 

Comment: Why care homes are not alone in a sector facing intense pressure

Our Chief Executive Rachel Cackett responds to news about the status of care home funding

Rachel Cackett

Responding to news about the status of care home funding across Scotland today, Rachel Cackett, CEO of the Coalition of Care and Support Providers, said:

“The situation for care homes is clearly very serious just now – and care homes are not alone in contending with sustainability issues fuelled by insufficient funding increases and too few staff. Not-for-profit social care is facing these issues in all services right now.

Our member organisations report intense pressure across the breadth of their provision, in community- and residential-based services for older people, in services for people with disabilities, and in services supporting children and families.

Why is this happening? In a large part because, despite a commitment to Fair Work in Social Care dating back to 2019, the Scottish Government has chosen to raise the minimum wage in our sector by just 3.8% to £10.90 this year.

That is an uplift only applied to staff providing registered services to adults. There is no commitment to other social care staff, for example those working in children’s services. The result is more and more of the workforce leaving social care for better terms and conditions elsewhere, jeopardising many key services.

We need to see immediate action on a pay uplift to £12 for all social care staff and across all services.

Amidst this crisis, it’s also vital we remember that there are real people at the heart of all these services. People who need support to thrive and take charge of their lives, and to play an active part in their families, communities, school and work.

We need to see a fair social care system in which workers and people who use services are truly valued. That is central to the First Minister’s vison of delivering on equality, opportunity and community in Scotland.

Unless the pay inequality being experienced by social care staff is addressed it will be impossible to fulfil that pledge.”