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Scotland vows to make essential social care a ‘national priority’

A joint approach to maximise social care support and ensure people receive the care they need has been agreed by the Scottish government and COSLA, in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on staffing and demand.

The partners hope that this plan will prevent further pressure falling on the NHS, and ensure that dignity and human rights are upheld, as staffing shortages and increased demand are exacerbated by the spread and effect of Omicron.

closeup photo of woman's eye wearing mask

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: ‘In order to protect life preserving services, and protect the vulnerable, local authorities and public services will prioritise what they deliver in the weeks ahead as a result of staffing availability due to Covid. That may mean some services being closed for a period or operating on reduced hours or service levels. This will free up resources to make sure we can deliver core, essential services. As soon as demands and resources allow, any affected services will resume normal operation.

‘People across public services and critical national infrastructure are working hard to keep essential services going. In a lot of cases they are already being asked to be flexible to cover for absent colleagues. I am grateful to everyone who is helping us through this difficult period. The Third Sector has a huge amount to offer while the private sector and employers can contribute, either by releasing staff who can help in this effort,  or by supporting carers leave for family and friends who might need it.

‘Local public services are delivering national priorities and programmes such as testing and vaccination programmes, delivering business grants, self-isolation grants and support, and much more. They have played a key role throughout the pandemic in supporting vulnerable people and key workers. That partnership between local and national government is, and will remain, essential.’

COSLA President Alison Evison added: ‘Once again, no matter the ask, councils along with other public services will rise to the challenge in terms of providing an appropriate local response. As the sphere of government closest to our communities across Scotland, once more Local Government will play our part in the Covid response.

‘Where pressures on staffing levels are identified, help and support for those most vulnerable as well as the life and limb services in our communities will be prioritised.  As it has been throughout the pandemic, Health and Social Care and keeping people safe will be front and centre of local prioritisation.’

Photo by Ani Kolleshi

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