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Monday, 11 December 2017

Call for significant funding increase to address 'crisis' in Scotland's independent care sector

Written by The Press Association

Scotland's independent care sector has issued an urgent plea for extra investment in this week's Scottish budget.

Dr Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, said a "significant" increase in funding was needed to ensure the sustainability of the sector.

In a briefing issued before Thursday's budget, the body, which represents the independent care sector, warned that it is facing a "crisis" as a result of growing demand, "spiralling" costs and problems with the recruitment and retention of staff.

Scottish Care members provide 89% of care home places in Scotland and support around 65,000 people.

The briefing said it had "clear evidence that a good number of providers will seek to withdraw from the sector in the next calendar year unless there is a substantial redress to outstanding issues".

It continued: "We are facing a crisis in Scotland at the present time: 77% of care homes have workforce vacancies, 28% have seen an increase in the use of agencies for non-nursing staff, 22% is the annual turnover rate for all care staff."

Dr Macaskill (pictured) said: "We are calling upon political leadership within the Scottish Parliament to give serious consideration to the necessity of urgent investment within the social care sector in Scotland.

"We acknowledge that local government has to a significant extent maintained investment in social care despite cuts in funding. However, this maintenance alone is insufficient given the growing level of need, increase in dependency and enhanced demographic demand.

"If we are even going to achieve the current provision, albeit reformed, never mind the development of higher quality provision, the social care sector for older adults in Scotland requires urgent and serious additional investment.

"The sustainability of the sector cannot be secured without a significant increase in funding."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Getting social care right is in all of our interests.

"The Draft Budget proposals that the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution will bring forward to the Scottish Parliament on December 14 will provide the resources necessary to deliver the vision set out in the Programme for Government and balance the impact of UK austerity with the need to protect public services and strengthen the social contract.

"Our commitment to social care was seen in the transfer of almost half a billion pounds from the NHS into social care in 2017/18 alone".

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Scottish Care.