CVS Inverclyde Resilience Network
Collaboration in Care: A Discussion on the Adult Social Care Review & National Care Service
At our recent Resilience Network event, “Collaboration in Care: A Discussion on the Adult Social Care Review & National Care Service”, we discussed the Independent Review of Adult Social Care, (commonly referred to as the Feeley Report), and subsequent consultation investigating the creation of a National Care Service in Scotland. We heard from Barbara Morton, Team Leader of the National Care Service Programme at the Scottish Government; Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care; and Dr Anne Hendry, International Forum of Integrated Care Services.
Barbara Morton opened the discussion with the acknowledgement that “Scotland has some really strong foundations on which to build Social Care services”. This idea emerged throughout the rest of the afternoon’s discussion: Scotland has a great landscape of “high Social Care standards” (Dr Anne Hendry), with some really positive aspects already in place. Identifying the gaps and adapting existing practises to make them better and more robust is central to the idea of a National Care Service (NCS), and especially important when we consider that the NCS is some way into the future. This is an important point: the ideas and ideals of a NCS can and should be implemented in the here and now, without waiting for that future date when/if an NCS is launched. Indeed, Dr Anne Hendry noted that even when it arrives, “a NCS will not be an automatic fix” to the postcode lottery in quality of outcomes in the Scottish social care sector.
Across the discussion, from each of our esteemed guest speakers, the idea of Social Care being a structure that helps people to live independently – and live well independently – was key: Social Care should promote and help to create and maintain active citizens in our society, not just people who are cared for within their own homes, or a care home setting. Dr Macaskill acknowledged the positives within Scottish Social Care, but also noted the real “hunger for change” present in the sector, the desire to change central tenets of the existing system so that it works better for its users, workers, and the wider society it is designed to serve. Central to this idea is that people with lived- and living-experience should be integral to the process of developing a NCS and any Social Care system that really works for the people using it – there must be consultation and discussion with service users in order to design a system that truly works for the people who rely on using it.
In this vein, the “centrality of human rights” is essential, the belief that “access to social care is a much a human right as access to healthcare” – Dr Macaskill made these points very strongly. Dr Anne Hendry, too, agreed that health care and social care are really one and the same thing, and should be viewed in an integrated and collaborative way. Dr Hendry emphasised this point, that strong collaboration across the whole of our society should be key when developing an NCS, to create something that works to the best of its ideals. Dr Macaskill calls this “Care which Collaborates”, something that should be constantly revisited and kept at the forefront of the next stages of planning and development. Dr Hendry noted that the success of social care lies in the integration of care services across society (for example, encompassing health, social care, housing, community involvement, etc.), and that an NCS will require a team effort, a “truly collaborative approach to achieve the best individualised social care for every person” – again the idea of the individual being at the heart of the system shines here.
Ultimately, the discussion highlighted the promise of the Feeley Report, which gave a glimpse of a different system in Scotland where “person-led empowerment” and “self-directed support” (Dr Macaskill), could transform the way care is commissioned and provided, allowing users to not only live, but live well. There is still much work to be done here, and many obstacles to overcome. Vicki Cloney of CVS Inverclyde closed the afternoon by thanking the contributors and suggesting that in the coming days of developing the National Care Service, we should strive to “be brave enough to make bold decisions”. We should strive to live up to the promise of the Feeley Report and transform the Social Care system in Scotland so that it works well to help people to continue to livewell, even when requiring its support. There is no doubt an interesting and exciting time ahead for Social Care in Scotland.