A former social worker and current Labour MP for Stockport has condemned the state of social care in Inverness claiming it is 'dreadful'.
Ann Coffey, a former social worker for several local authorities, said she was left shocked by the standard of care and lack of properly trained care workers in the Highland capital, branding services as a 'complete car crash'.
Ms Coffey, who was born in Inverness, was speaking about her experiences as a distant carer of a relative who lives in the city and suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Speaking to the Press and Journal newspaper, she said: “I have had a personal family circumstance in which I’ve found it very hard to get the services I need to support the relative.
“I’ve been a distant carer for two-and-a-half years. It has been very, very distressing and I can assure you I have not found social care in Inverness to be wonderful.
“I’m not saying that is very different in England, because the state of social care is appalling everywhere.
“I have a concern about social care funding in the UK. I have a concern about it in England and I have highlighted that concern.
“But I also, from my own personal experience, have exactly the same social care concerns in Scotland. The Scottish Government shouldn’t be complacent about it. They shouldn’t pretend that there isn’t a problem with social care here in Scotland, because there is.”
Mrs Coffey also criticised the Scottish Government’s free personal care policy claiming it undermined standards north of the border.
“It comes down to proper funding, and recruiting staff that are well-trained and well paid. You can see it’s a complete car crash,” she said.
In response, a spokesman for NHS Highland said: “We would encourage Ann Coffey MP to contact NHS Highland’s director of adult social care Joanna MacDonald to discuss any concerns she may have.”
Scottish Government public health minister Aileen Campbell said: “This government is committed to shifting the proportion of health spend in to community care services, and we have already made progress.
“This year we have allocated a further £250million from the NHS to integration authorities to protect and grow our social care services and deliver our shared priorities, including paying care workers supporting vulnerable adults the Living Wage.
“This is on top of the £500million we’re already investing over three years to support the integration of health and social care.”