On 3 August 2017, Scottish Care launched two new reports on the Scottish Government’s flagship Self-directed Support legislation.

The reports have been produced by Scottish Care, the representative body for independent care services, and highlight the opportunities that Self-directed Support can offer older people in deciding their care but which are not being utilised.

Self-directed Support became law in 2014 and signalled radical change in how care should be assessed, chosen and purchased in Scotland, giving far more choice and control to the individual at the centre of that care.  However, recent reports have shown that this transformation has not occurred in most parts of Scotland and that older people in particular are being let down by this lack of progress.  Scottish Government statistics released in June 2017 indicated that only 27 per cent of people who access social care have been given the option of how their support is delivered through SDS. When further analysed this equates to an even smaller percentage of older persons of whom 86% are opting for the status quo, likely because they are not informed properly of their options.

The first of these new reports highlights the importance of a human rights-based approach to Self-directed Support for Older People and how human rights models can overcome the many challenges currently being faced in implementing it.  It stresses the importance of individuals being fully informed and therefore able to claim their rights in relation to their care provision.

The second report is focused on how Self-directed Support can improve day care provision for older people.  It emphasises the need for the Scottish Government to put pressure on Health & Social Care Partnerships to release their hold on power around care provision and transfer this to individuals and families, as the law requires.

Both reports reach similar conclusions: that improvements are both possible and required but that the pace of change is slow, and that the majority of older people are still being offered a very limited choice or none at all when it comes to support for anything other than basic personal care.

CEO of Scottish Care, Dr Donald Macaskill said:

“These important reports emphasise that Self-directed Support can make a real difference to people’s lives if implemented properly, but that this opportunity is currently going to waste through the prevailing of inflexible systems and power remaining in the hands of professionals rather than people.  In order to make Self-directed Support work, there needs to be concentrated attention given to it by Scottish Government. This includes the need for effective monitoring, adequate resourcing and collaborative working. We cannot continue, at national and local government level, to ignore the human rights of older Scots.”

A Human Rights Based Approach to SDS for Older People

 

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