Scottish Government issues statement of intent for health and social care for older people

Section: Health and Social Care IntegrationPolicy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 25th March 2021

The statement outlines plans to remove barriers, tackle inequalities and uphold older people’s human rights.

The Scottish Government has outlined its intentions to make a significant difference to how older people’s health and social care is approach in Scotland.

The statement acknowledges the significant impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on older people, and commits to ensuring that older people are placed at the centre of recovery as we rebuild and remobilise our health and social care services in Scotland.

Building upon the foundation created in 2019 by ‘A Fairer Scotland for Older People – A Framework for Action’ (this link will take you away from our website), the Scottish Government plans to develop a new integrated health and social care strategy for older people, which would be developed with older people, and with the people and organisations which support them.

The strategy will be developed alongside the programme of work to implement the Independent Review of Adult Social Care (IRASC) (this link will take you away from our website), with a view to creating a system that is founded in fairness, equality and human rights, and that puts lived experience at the heart of its redesign and delivery.

The ALLIANCE welcomes the statement of intent, which provides scope to develop on several of our manifesto asks, including the appointment of an independent Scottish Commissioner for Older People to champion for the rights of older people, and drive progress in reforming health and social care for older people, and to appoint a dedicated Minister for Social Care with explicit responsibility for implementing the report recommendations and delivering an equalities and rights based adult social care reform. Additionally, we welcome measures to ensure that older people, and those who support them, are included in meaningful decision making.

The statement sets out key areas through which its ambition for Scotland can be achieved:

  • Prevention: the statement indicates the importance of staying physically and mentally active to healthy ageing, as well as using existing information to better anticipate those who may need additional support;
  • Person-centred care: a commitment to older people leading decision making around their care and treatment to ensure that they receive their care, treatment and support in the way that they would prefer;
  • Home first approach: an intention to deliver care and treatment in the homes or local communities of older people as much as possible, with hospital care only occurring when necessary;
  • Integrated health and social care: alongside the IRASC, the statement commits to an ambitious reform of adult social care to ensure consistent delivery of a high quality, human rights based service;
  • Dignity and respect at end of life: offering support and encouraging opportunities to have conversations around death and dying in an open and honest way, focusing on high quality end of life care which considers the physical, social, psychological and spiritual dimensions of care, and providing care in a way that minimises harm whilst retaining dignity and humanity.

Throughout the remainder of 2021, the Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with older people including the Older People’s Strategic Action Forum, and the people and organisations that work with and support them. This will be followed by a consultation on a draft strategy.

You can read the statement of intent in full on the Scottish Government website (this link will take you away from our website).

Read the ALLIANCE Manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, ‘Equally Valued’.

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