Adult social care strategy states unpaid carers are key to helping the sector

Highland Council and NHS Highland have drafted a new adult social care plan that will be discussed by authorities this week following a wave of care home closures.  

Sparking more questions than answers, the Highland Health and Social Care Strategic Plan Adult Services 2023-2026 is designed to help social care in the north – it has been supported by eight other local authorities and health board plans that affect social care.person's hand in shallow focus

The drafted report, which was announced yesterday, states: ‘Public services across Scotland are facing huge financial pressure. We cannot provide services in the way we have before – we simply don’t have enough money to do so.’

Outlining that little seems to have been done to help financial pressures in the sector since before the COVID-19 pandemic, the report shows NHS Highland is expected to be almost £43m over budget and Highland Council almost £9m this financial year. Alongside this, next year holds an even bigger crisis, as health boards fear a £97.5m deficit and the Council £40.9m.

However, a clear and to-the-point solution is unclear within the new strategy, but officials have placed emphasis on relying more on unpaid carers, partly on finding unspecified ‘innovative solutions’ and working closely with ‘natural supports’ to promote ‘positive risk taking.’

The report claims: ‘Planning for the future of our health and social care services requires a clear financial context which outlines the challenges facing the system, but at the same time looks at our approach to addressing these pressures – through a combination of investment and transformational change.

‘We will consider the whole health and social care system and how this supports the triple aim of better care, better health, and better value. Investment, while necessary, will need to be matched with transformation to drive further improvements in our services which must be sustainable and consistent with the imperatives set out in this Strategic Plan.’

Although, the report questioned adult social care staff and the public about what is needed to help the sector and people claimed more needs to be done to allow people to remain in their homes; working with families and organisations to deliver support; maintaining people’s independence; supporting carers; and planning for eventual care home stays.

Image: Danie Franco


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