Self Directed Support one year on

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A year after a new law was created to give Scots more choice and control over their own lives, thousands are benefitting from Self Directed Support

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30th March 2015 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Self Directed Support (SDS) is helping thousands of Scots live more independent lives just a year after a new law was introduced to ensure every disabled person had the right to control their own care.

An awareness week is celebrating the way the law has improved lives by enabling them to enjoy the kinds of activities more able-bodied people take for granted.

Twenty-year-old Kirsty Souter from East Dunbartonshire has cerebral palsy. Over the last year she has used SDS to employ a personal assistant to help her attend college and use public transport.

Health improvement minister Jamie Hepburn met Kirsty in Kirkintilloch this week.

"Self-directed Support is about giving people more control over their lives, and allowing them to make choices that mean they get a support package that works for them," said Hepburn.

“There are thousands of people like Kirsty right around Scotland who are benefiting from the additional freedom that SDS can bring. People can choose for their support to be arranged by the council, design a tailor-made package or receive a direct payment.

“Through SDS many people are gaining extra independence and confidence, which I think is a great thing.”

Over the last year, local authorities and other organisations have been working to implement their own plans for delivering SDS locally.

The Scottish Government has provided £28.5 million over five years to help local councils make the necessary transitions. There has also been £6.3 million over four years to third sector and independent sector providers to come up with innovative new approaches to services.

In order to make sure individuals, carers and families understand the system and how it can work for them, the Scottish Government has also provided £7.5 million over four years for information, support and advocacy organisations.

Self Directed Support Scotland has published the one-off Daily Choice Newspaper to highlight all the events going on across the country for SDS week 2015.

Finding the right care in the right language

Razia recently recovered from a life threatening illness, but she reacted badly to the treatment and has been left feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. She is no longer able to get out and about on her own, or spend more than an hour or two alone at home.

This is not the first time Razia has been unwell and needed support, but last time she had help at home it didn’t work out well. Razia, whose English is limited, was sent council care workers who didn’t know how to cook the food she likes and couldn’t speak her first language, Urdu.

This time Razia was offered Self-Directed Support, which sounded good but still left her family confused. So, Razia’s daughter contacted the Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project (MECOPP), who offered to provide support to find an agency to provide a personal assistant for Razia.

“It was quite honestly the best decision we made,” explains Razia’s daughter. “From the outset we had absolute control over everything. Kate from MECOPP initially came to meet mum to understand what support she needed. We gave her a wish list and she was able to source a list of agencies that could potentially provide the specific care mum needed.  

“She set up and attended meetings with us with the agencies, liaised with social work, helped us with all the paperwork and any decision making.”

Razia and her family are happy that they have been able to take control by taking a direct payment and choosing the right care agency for them, without having to take on the extra responsibility of managing staff themselves. 

“The agency we selected have been brilliant and really bent over backwards to help us. They were able to recruit a worker specifically for mum and she is even better than we could have expected when we first started looking. I can honestly say that we would never have been able to do this without Kate and MECOPP. Compared with last time this was practically painless and no effort."

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