Care sector is on the brink of crisis
Brian Logan, chief executive of Bield says care sector faces fight of our generation as funding cuts and an ageing population take their toll
It may seem stark to talk in these terms, but I genuinely believe that we are on the brink of a care crisis in this country.
Every week we hear of another provider going to the wall or another care service closing.
That is because providers are needing to confront the challenge of supporting an ageing population, with ever-growing and more complex needs, but with a shrinking pot of resources.
Three of Scotland’s council areas in which Bield operates have now withdrawn housing support funding completely with further cuts expected from others in the near future.
It all points to the care sector facing the fight of a generation.
But rather than bleat or look for sympathy, we in the sector need to show we can make a difference: to campaign hard to protect existing services, to fight for a properly funded adult care and support sector and above all to make sure the voices of older people are heard loudly and clearly.
Though care and housing providers, and other organisations will continue developing innovative ways to invest in their staff team and to build new developments, more help is needed from all quarters to help prevent a serious decline in the standards of living of thousands of older people.
The external environment is more turbulent, more dynamic, more unpredictable than ever before. And little of that we can influence.
Government at all levels must start valuing older people and providing funds to ensure they are properly looked after in later life.
They must take a much longer-term strategic approach – the number of older people and the demand for the types of services we provide is only going to grow. If, as they say, they are serious about investing in care services then they must put adequate resources behind it.
And that’s why I get frustrated. Despite all of the rhetoric from politicians of all colours, we find ourselves in a position where frail, vulnerable people are forced to find alternative – and quite frankly often sub-standard – care at a time when they should be enjoying peace of mind.
We’re campaigning hard to change government minds on both sides of the border. There are things we can influence and, more than ever before, we need to be at the forefront. We must raise awareness of the challenges we face to ensure the highest possible quality of care can continue to be given to those in most need.
Bield’s vision remains a Scotland where people of all ages are respected, can make their own choices and are able to live independent and fulfilling lives. If that’s not something worth fighting for, I don’t know what is.
Brian Logan is chief executive of Bield.