October 26, 2023
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