Self-directed Support is falling short of disabled people’s ambitions

Section: Health and Social Care IntegrationType: News Item Date Published: 25th May 2017

New report urges local authorities and the Scottish Government to do more to help people take control of their own social care support.

Research published today by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) urges local authorities and the Scottish Government to do more to help people take control of their own social care support.

The ALLIANCE’s report, ‘Personal Experiences of Self-directed Support’, comes just over three years since SDS became law in Scotland and half-way through the country’s 10-year strategy. The goal of SDS is to give disabled people and people living with long term conditions choice and control over their own support.

Despite a welcome increase in overall satisfaction levels among people who access social care through Self-directed Support (SDS), over a half of people questioned by the ALLIANCE do not feel they have enough support to meet their care needs. Even when people have been assessed as needing support to live independently, they can often wait up to a year or longer before a support package is put in place.

Positive findings from the research suggest that SDS is becoming the accepted model for delivering social care in Scotland and people are becoming more satisfied with their support after moving onto it. There is also a welcome increase in people’s awareness of SDS

However, there remain several key issues that the ALLIANCE believes must be addressed if the underlying human rights principles and values of SDS are to be fully realised. For example, the research found that the key aim of SDS, to give people choice, is highly dependent on how much existing autonomy people have over their care. The more control people have over how their support is provided, the more positive they are about it.

Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive, the ALLIANCE said: “As our research shows, there are a wide range of experiences among people receiving and managing Self-directed Support. We welcome the increase in satisfaction and awareness of SDS, which indicate it can lead to positive outcomes for disabled people and those with long term conditions. There are, however, worrying examples of people being given wrong information about their rights to support by local authorities, and people’s dignity being undermined by tightened budgets, which restricts disabled people’s choice and control over their care. With only three years left of the national SDS strategy, strong leadership is required to ensure that the aspiration to transform social care in Scotland can be realised”.

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