Health and Social Care
Late last year the Scottish Government took to the airwaves to promote its white paper. But away from the fanfare, there was a more serious debate in Parliament about how we address the challenges facing our health and social care sector.
The number of people aged 75 and over is set to rise by 80 percent within the next 25 years, putting far greater demand on services. Add to the mix the financial squeeze in the public sector, and it’s clear we have a huge task on our hands.
The Integration of Health and Social Care Bill which has been examined by the Parliament’s Health Committee which I convene, aims to address the challenge of how we deliver more with less.
Greater integration, co-ordination and efficiency between the different services in the health and social care sector are of course very important.
But if the Bill is to achieve better quality care for the elderly, it’s essential that equal attention is given to the human aspect. We need a set of national care standards with human rights at their heart. These rights must include the right to be free from careless neglect, the right to privacy and the right to live as independently as possible.
We must also place greater value on those who provide the care. This means paying carers a living wage and providing them with proper support and training. We also need to give them more time to spend with patients rather than the quick fifteen minute visits we have at present.
The Scottish Government’s white paper asserts that Scotland’s social sector is ‘world leading’. And while there is a lot of great work that goes on despite the challenges, it’s clear we have a lot of work to do before we can achieve such status.