By Lucy Ashton
The SNP Government must act now to tackle the crisis facing Scotland’s social care sector, Dame Jackie Baillie has said, after government figures revealed spiralling wait times for community care assessments to be completed.
In 2023, two thirds of adults (aged 18 to 64) in West Dunbartonshire waited more than the SNP government’s target of 6 weeks between first contact and completion of a community care assessment. The figure in Argyll and Bute was 19 percent.
There was also a shocking 14 percentage point increase in the proportion of new clients with ‘critical’ needs aged over 65 waiting for more than 6 weeks between first contact and completion of a community care assessment in West Dunbartonshire.
This chaos comes just weeks after Labour criticised the SNP’s £331 million raid on IJB reserves that forced Health and Social Care partnerships to make impossible choices in the face of cuts.
The Dumbarton constituency MSP, left, has warned of a ‘ticking time bomb’ facing Scotland’s social care sector and has called on the SNP to get a grip on this spiralling crisis before anyone else loses out on care.
Jackie Baillie said: “We are facing a ticking time bomb when it comes to social care, and it is Scotland’s most vulnerable who are paying the price.
“For months now the SNP have ignored calls to tackle Scotland’s social care crisis and even raided funding from Health and Social Care partnerships, and things are only getting worse.
“Vulnerable patients are missing out on the care they need because the underfunded and overworked sector cannot keep up with demand and the picture in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute is getting progressively worse.
“The SNP must act now to tackle the problems facing social care, starting by delivering fair pay for social care staff and putting an end to delayed discharge.”
- In both 2022 and 2023, over a quarter of adults waited more than six weeks between first contact and completion of a community care assessment 35% of younger adults waited for longer than 6 weeks, compared with 24% of older clients.
- The proportion of new clients aged over 65 waiting for more than 6 weeks between first contact and completion of a community care assessment who were in the “critical” or “substantial” needs eligibility category was 45%. This is up from 30% in 2019.
- There is a six week waiting time target to deliver Personal Care for all adults (from 2019 onwards, previously only older clients aged 65 and over) who have been assessed in the critical or substantial needs categories.
- In 2014, 97% of older clients (over age 65) in critical or substantial need received a personal care service within 6 weeks of an assessment, this been decreasing and stood at 84% in 2023. 49% of younger clients (aged 18-64) in the critical category waited more than 6 weeks between completion of a community care assessment and new service delivery in the last quarter of 22/23.