By Lucy Ashton
This morning’s Health and Finance committee meetings at the Scottish Parliament saw extensive criticism of the Scottish Government’s plans for reforming social care.
Legal experts, health board leaders, council officials and finance professionals, all weighed in.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, right, said: “The Scottish Government needs to stop these plans now before they sink further into the quicksand.
“Their plans are being attacked as vague and incomplete by everyone from health bosses to human rights experts.
“It’s clear that very little in the government’s proposals will make things better for either staff or service users of social care. Rather than set up a billion-pound bureaucracy, the government should channel that money into boosting pay and conditions on the frontline and improving services for those who need them.”
Paul Kelly, health and social care spokesman for the local government body Cosla, said some of the issues about lack of detail in the plans were “very, very significant” and warned that councillors were “being asked to consider it without the proper details.
Eddie Fraser, chief executive of East Ayrshire Council, warned “We have no certainty as local authority leaders on what services are going to look like in the next three to four years, and the current circumstances are truly unstable for social work, for social care, but also for the rest of the council.”
Frank Jarvis of the Scottish Human Rights Commission said the charter of rights proposed by the Bill was a “presentational device of repackaging rights that care users already hold” and warned that “Language in the Bill about human rights was also “unfortunately and unhelpfully vague”
Audit Scotland’s Mark Taylor warned that “Government needs to be able to be much clearer, at a much earlier stage about its financial plans.” His evidence follows written evidence from Audit Scotland which said the Government’s costings were “likely to significantly understate” the range of costs associated with the bill.
Emma Congreve of the Fraser of Allander Institute said: “A large amount of money will need to be spent on the set-up of the National Care Service, which is what the Bill is about.
“And there’s a lot of uncertainty within that number, there’s a big range in terms of the recurring costs even once it’s been set up.”
Ralph Roberts, Chief Executive of NHS Borders questioned whether money should be put into organisation change rather than into staff costs. In his submission he said the current plans could be “a distraction”