Will you help us #ChangetheConversation on Social Care?
Debating solutions to our UK-wide care crisis, this week in Westminster the UK Minister for Social Care congratulated local councils on ‘innovative savings’ made to social care budgets, and called “Austerity… the mother of invention”.
Meanwhile, the daily reality for GDA members is that austerity has closed many doors to disabled people, and reversed much-needed progress towards the thriving and inclusive society we all seek.
The UN has advised that to enable our local authorities to meet their responsibilities under the UN convention, social care budgets must be properly resourced and, crucially, ring-fenced.
The UK Minister’s words show that disabled people’s lives and contributions are very much undervalued. Social Care budgets have not been protected from austerity, because social care is not yet recognized as the infrastructural investment that it should be.
As part of the Scottish government’s commitment to Self Directed Support, GDA’s ‘Future Visions’ project has demonstrated that a very small investment can have transformative effects: for disabled people, their families and their wider community.
With peer support, understanding and supportive conversations, GDA members have unlocked aspirations they never dared consider; and with support to build confidence, break down barriers, and exercise choice and control, our participants have overcome crisis and isolation to achieve great things - things which many non-disabled people take for granted.
Recovering from a stroke and sustaining a brain injury in his early twenties, Kevin learned about GDA from his GP. He tells us:
“Future Visions has played a big role in getting me out and using skills I didn’t know I had. I think differently now, more positive. Confidence is key - Why shouldn’t I be able to go to college? Future Visions has helped me a lot – I’ve now got into college and sorted out a new house much quicker than I would have been able to do by myself. Life is much better now.”
Kevin, Participant, GDA Future Visions
In Scotland we have sights set on our Shared Ambition: a modern, social care infrastructure that is valued as an investment in Scotland’s economic and social prosperity. We look ahead to the roll out of Frank’s Law – Free personal care for under 65s – a welcome step towards elevating the status of social care in Scotland, and hopefully addressing the huge unmet need disabled people face.
The need for prevention and stronger communities is widely accepted in theory. Yet yesterday’s Audit Scotland report shows that the bold shift towards prevention is yet to happen in real terms. To alleviate the increasing demand on our NHS services an future-proof our communities and services, bold decisions must be taken to invest in social care: in supporting people to keep well at home, in thriving communities.
As our Shared Ambition declares: “an effective social care infrastructure is an investment in Health and wellbeing; in Jobs and economic growth; in cohesive, resilient communities; and tacking inequality.”
GDA will continue to play our part in the culture change we all need to see: increasing public understanding of what can be achieved, for disabled people and society, when the right support is available.
Together we can create the conditions to enable better investment in a social care infrastructure that works for all of us when we need it, and is equipped to play its vital role in a thriving, inclusive Glasgow, and a Fairer Scotland for us all.