Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today highlighted a new report from the Accounts Commission which warns that the Scottish Government’s proposed reform of social care risks mirroring other public sector reforms which have not delivered the promised benefits and risks diverting resources from tackling the immediate challenges in the social care sector.
Responding Mr Cole-Hamilton warned that a ministerial takeover would mean ditching valuable local expertise and putting ministers in charge of services rather than local health teams.
The report Local government in Scotland Overview 2022 says:
“Scottish Government proposals for a new National Care Service are still at an early stage but will have a substantial impact on local authorities’ responsibilities. Such a significant programme of reform brings challenges and risks. Reform in other areas of the public sector has shown that expected benefits are not always clearly defined, and even when they are, they are not always delivered. Focusing on such a major transformation will also risk a diversion from tackling the immediate challenges within the social care sector. For local government there is uncertainty about the destination of the policy, and concern over a loss to local empowerment and funding for councils.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“The SNP promised that centralising control of Scotland’s police would save money. These savings have never happened. This report warns against repeating the same mistakes again with care services.
“Focusing on a top down reorganisation of social care with distant ministers in charge instead of local health teams will simply divert resources from where they are needed.
“It would terrible for care services if authority was to be taken away from local councils and permanently handed to the same Scottish Government ministers who were responsible for sending untested and Covid-positive patients into care homes at the start of the pandemic.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats believe the focus should be on driving up pay and conditions for staff to make it an appealing career and making sure that people can get care at home or close to home.”