South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper has welcomed a new consultation, launched by the Scottish Government, into the future of social care services in Scotland and urges constituents to make their views heard.

In particular, Ms Harper – herself a registered nurse and member of the Scottish Parliament’s Health, Sport and Social Care Committee – has welcomed the ambition of the Scottish Government to provide access to high quality social care, at the point of need and free of cost, to all who need it. In doing so, the consultation seeks views on the creation of a Scottish Social Care System similar to the NHS, which can be accessed regardless of a person’s financial position. The South Scotland MSP has also written to care homes across areas in her South Scotland Region, community councils, care experienced constituents and many others, encouraging them to make their views heard.

For the purpose of the consultation, social care includes: support for people with physical and learning disabilities or mental health conditions, older people and those with dementia, people with or recovering from alcohol or drug addictions, those who are homeless, children and families who may need additional support and where children are unable to live with their own families. It also includes young and unpaid carers.

Commenting, Ms Harper said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted significant challenges and areas of necessary improvement to Scotland’s social care system, including a lack of uniformity of standards of social care which is provided across different parts of Scotland. The current system can, at times, be driven by profits and a person’s ability to pay for care. This cannot continue to be the case. Indeed, many people – of all ages and from all walks of life – will require social care at some time in their life and all must be able to access high quality care at the point of need.

“The Scottish Government was elected on a manifesto to implement and change Scotland’s current social care system into a National Social Care System, similar to the NHS, which provides social care, free at the point of need, to all who require it. In doing so, I welcome that it is the Scottish Government’s intention to ensure that everyone has the right to access high quality social care, regardless of their financial position.

“I have written to social care providers in areas across my South Scotland Region, as well as care experienced constituents, encouraging them to take part in the consultation and I would echo this request to all constituents who have an interest in social care reform. It is really important to hear the voices of people across Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.”