Inaugural Care Lecture sees call for Social Care Commission
Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission is calling for the urgent establishment of a Scottish Social Care Commission.
Speaking ahead of delivering the first ever Scottish Care Lecture Judith said:
“Putting human rights at the heart of social care systems ensures every service user has all they need to live with dignity, freedom and respect when they need it most. If embedded in existing social care policies and practices, human rights can improve experiences for everybody – from service users, to workers, to care providers. The evidence of this impact can be seen through examples of human rights in practice in some health and social care settings in Scotland including the National Dementia Strategy.
“However gaps continue to be felt where it really matters – in the reality of too many people’s day-to-day lives. This is why we are calling for the urgent establishment of an independent Scottish Commission on Social Care. A commission: that listens to and learns from those who have experienced social care; that guides national and local government to put the rights of these citizens and wellbeing of society as a whole first; and ensures social care policies and procedures live up to our country’s vision for a fair and just society.
“The UK and Scottish Governments, and social care providers - across the public, private and third sector – in Scotland can and must do more to address gaps in social care. An independent Scottish Social Care Commission could help them do this – as recommended by the group that developed the shared ambition for the Future of Social Care in Scotland - ‘facilitating honest conversations about for example where to invest or disinvest to make the greatest impact for communities throughout Scotland.’
“Establishing a commission of this nature would also demonstrate to the United Nations (UN) that Scotland is making real progress in in meeting some of the human rights obligations that our governments have agreed to. Indeed, this was one of our key recommendations in our submission to the UN’s recent universal periodic review of human rights in the UK.”
Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care ( a membership organisation representing the independent care sector in Scotland) added:
“Human rights are talked about a lot these days and I am very pleased we will have the opportunity to hear from Ms Robertson on what that means for social care in Scotland. Scottish Care welcome the call from the SHRC for the establishment of a Scottish Commission on Social Care.
“We are quite rightly committed to creating a world class health and social care system in Scotland. Such a system has to be based on the rights and dignity of all people.
“But talk about rights can be easy and casual. Putting human rights into practice is much more challenging. It means, amongst other things, that the way we buy care has to be rights based not driving costs down to the bottom in the name of efficiencies. It means we have to adequately reward and remunerate a workforce dedicated to helping another realise their rights and who themselves understand that they have human rights which need fulfilment. It means that the delivery of care, the environment, the purposes of activity in care homes and in our community, are all solidly rooted in the soil of human rights. It means that citizens have maximum control and choice, the ability to lead independent lives, to be cared for in compassion and when the time comes to make rights based choices as their life ends.
“The new Health and Care Standards give us in Scotland the potential to be ground-breaking but that potential has to be worked for and won't be realised overnight.
“There are too many instances in Scotland today where older Scots are being actively denied the exercise of full choice and control over their social care and where there is a clear breach of their rights as equal citizens. This acceptable form of discrimination has to end.
“Like so many others I want to live in a Scotland which enshrines human rights in its social care. That will remain a dream until we end the age discrimination which treats older Scots more unfairly than others. It will remain a dream until we recognise the value and contribution of social care workers and end the gender discrimination in their treatment. I don't want to be dreaming I want to live and breathe in a fully rights based country.”
It is hoped that the Scottish Care Lecture will become an annual event, highlighting the significant issues facing social care and in particular older people in modern Scotland.
The inaugural Lecture will be published as part of the Scottish Care Care Cameo series in late September. For more information visit: www.scottishcare.org