A report published by Audit Scotland on social care in Scotland, describes a care sector that is ‘near crisis’. Around £5.3billion was spent on social care in 2019/2020 and the report warns of the toll an increasingly aged population will take on resources. The report says the Sottish Givernment failed to take into account the views and needs of service users and rather than adequately plan ahead they expend energy responding to emergencies that could have been avoided in the first place. They describe staff morale as being at an all time low, resulting in staff leaving faster than they can be replaced. They identify the root cause of the recruitment and retention issues as the pay being too low. This situation will get even worse as the population age and more people require care. The Scottish Government has committed £800 million this parliamentary term and will also increase national insurance to ease the financial burden. It concludes that its problems are so serious, the Scottish Government needs to act immediately rather than wait for the creation of a new nationalised care sector.
We cannot wait another five years until the planned National Care Service is in place. Action must happen now, and at speed, by the Scottish Government. There must be clear timescales for delivery, demonstrating that lessons have been learnt from previous reforms of health and social care services.