Vision outlined in adult social care review ‘slowly disappearing’

Dr Donald Macaskill, chief executive, Scottish Care

Aspirations outlined in an independent review of adult social care are ‘slowly disappearing into the distance’, Scottish Care’s chief executive has claimed.

Presenting virtually at a meeting of the Glasgow Voluntary Sector Health and Care Network, Dr Donald Macaskill, who was initially a critic of Derek Feeley’s review, admitted he had been wrong and that his report produced in February 2021 had ‘an air of authenticity’ and ‘sense of accuracy’ about it.

The review recommended the setting up of a National Care Service, which the Scottish government has taken forward. It introduced the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill to Parliament in June this year, committing to establishing the service by the end of the parliamentary term in 2026.

However, Dr Macaskill said Feeley’s review and recommendations felt like ‘a dream’ that was ‘slowly disappearing into the distance’. He said: ‘It feels as if that aspiration and hope of a very changed and reformed system seems to be shrinking.’

Despite the review looking to shift the paradigm, strengthen foundations and redesign the system, Dr Macaskill said there was a gap between Feeley’s vision and reality.

‘There is so much missing,’ he said. ‘There is a soul gap, which we need to fill. But there is still time to shape and influence through consultation, through speaking to our elected members… There is still time to get the sense and the passion and the drive of Feeley.’

He went to add: ‘Social care cannot be left to be the plaything of politicians and commentators, the disinterested only thinking about a vote or the next media story. It is ours. It is too important because it affects our lives and our livelihoods, and that’s why the “social” has to be reinvested into the National Care Service. I don’t want a National Care Service, I want a National Social Care Service.

‘What I read and what I see is not social care it is a mini version of the National Health Service.’

Dr Macaskill added people who used social care or worked in the sector were ‘drowning’, with ‘very little’ capacity to imagine better or to do things differently.