The Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities (SCLD) has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the development of a National Care Service in Scotland.
To develop the response SCLD held three meetings with the Expert Group, a group of people with learning disabilities who work with SCLD to help inform consultations and policy issues. SCLD also met with provider organisations who had engaged with people with learning disabilities that they support, such as The Action Group, Leonard Cheshire, The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, Ark Housing, ENABLE and ARC Scotland.
SCLD had concerns about how difficult it was for people with learning disabilities to take part in this consultation, because the consultation documents were inaccessible and the consultation deadline did not allow sufficient time to thoroughly consult with people.
SCLD believes that going forward, the development of the National Care Service should be co-produced, and that this must be reflected in a more inclusive consultation process.
Having a National Care Service might result in better outcomes for people, but a new structure does not guarantee this. SCLD believes that there are several important factors to consider in the creation of a National Care Service for Scotland: properly-costed investment is needed, with a recognition that demand is likely to rise over time. Similarly, strong, values-based leadership, and the full involvement of people with learning disabilities at every stage of its development are other key components of any successful service.
Moreover, services that are designed for people with learning disabilities should be fully human rights and equality impact assessed; the National Care Service workforce must be properly valued, by implementing the Fair Work Convention recommendations against a clear timetable. Data collection must also be better – it must allow for the disaggregation of equalities information, including whether a person has a learning disability. This information provides invaluable insights into the learning disability population in Scotland and if used effectively can help to mitigate existing health inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities.
SCLD’s Chief Executive Charlie McMillan was recently featured in an Health and Social Care ALLIANCE Scotland report which pulled together the views of key individuals from across the health and social care and voluntary sectors, regarding a National Care Service for Scotland. In ‘Building a national service that cares in the small places’ Charlie stressed the importance of embedding an equalities and human rights-based approach and in particular the need to avoid “[A] focus on creating bureaucratic systems where those who require the support most remain invisible.”
Read SCLD’s response
Further updates on the National Care Service are expected from the Scottish Government in the New Year.