Scotland faces care challenge for ageing population

By staff writers
12 Feb 2013

Radical reform to ensure effective collaboration in the delivery of public services is required if Scotland is to cope with its ageing population.

That is the conclusion of a report published on 11 February 2013 by the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee.

The report reveals that the deep-rooted cultural and structural transformation that is required is often lacking.

A shift in resources to support preventative spending is needed, it says.

More examples of good joint planning and a proactive approach to developing strategic commissioning are also needed.

Age Scotland spokesperson Callum Chomczuk commented: “We welcome this report, which lays out the preparedness of the public sector to respond to the demands of an ageing population. Unfortunately, it at best paints a mixed picture."

He continued: “Although we approve of a number of policy initiatives from the Scottish Government, including the Health and Social Care Change Fund, we have significant concerns about the projected funding gap between demand for health and care services and the resources available, which will rise to almost £3 billion by 2016/17.

“We are also worried that the public sector does not, generally, have sufficient information on cost, activity and quality of services to inform commissioning decisions relating to older people’s services.

“We acknowledge that the Committee’s remit did not specifically include transport, but it plays such a role in the provision of health and social care and housing that we are surprised by the fact that it wasn’t even discussed.

“We know the current bus pass system is not fit for purpose and is letting down many thousands of older people right across Scotland. It needs an overhaul before it will effectively address the challenges of demographic change and our ageing society.

“And in transport, as in all other relevant policy areas, we are convinced that only vastly improved partnership working will bring about the desired effect."

The report on demographic change will be debated in the Scottish Parliament at the beginning of March 2013.

* The report, 'Demographic change and an ageing population', can be viewed and downloaded here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittee...

* Age Scotland: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland/

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