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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Third Sector Hits Back at Labour’s Nationalisation Plans for Care

Third sector bodies have criticised Richard Leonard MSP, Labour’s Leader in Scotland, after he claimed councils are best placed to handle elderly care. Speaking on BBC Scotland, Mr Leonard said that a radical revamp of elderly care is required in Scotland. He said:

“We don’t think that system, dependent on commercial values or even charitable values, is the right way forward. We think the time has come for a more radical approach to the provision of care for our elderly.”

Asked whether he meant that care should be provided by local authorities, he replied:

“Absolutely, I don’t think we can simply leave it to commercial principles, the market or indeed the third sector to provide it. The principle of the NHS, which was based on free provision based on general taxation, is one I think we need to examine in care for the elderly and that means looking at levels of taxation in society.”

Dee Fraser, deputy director of the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland said Mr Leonard had conveniently ignored that voluntary sector care and support providers generally achieve higher quality gradings in inspections than the public sector. She said:

“We do indeed need significant investment in social care in Scotland. Nevertheless, I’d suggest that is better invested in the organisations already providing high-quality support in an increasingly hostile environment, rather than in a nostalgic dream of 1945.”

The Caring for People at Home Report, carried out by the Care Inspectorate, showed that 50.1% of services run by voluntary organisations gained all very good or excellent grades, compared to 29% for the private sector and 23.2% for the public sector. Only 1% of services run by the third sector have grades of unsatisfactory or weak for all inspection criteria.

John Downie, director of public affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, also highlighted the quality of support provided by the sector. He added:

“The facts, figures and inspections by regulators show that care provision by the third sector performs at a consistently high-level. The third sector delivers a wide range of public services driven by charitable values and the mission to support communities across the country.”

Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:

“My mother lives in Haylie House in Largs, a care home that is run by a charity and which provides an excellent level of care that few homes elsewhere can match. To suggest that Haylie House and similar care facilities should be taken over by the state is nonsensical. Scotland needs a mix of quality care homes, public, private and third sector. Clearly, in austerity Britain, resources are an issue. However, by suggesting that the fix is ideological show that Mr Leonard simply does not understand the care sector.”


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