John responds to the Ministerial Statement on “Care and Caring”

“I welcome the Ministerial Statement on Care and Caring delivered to the Scottish Parliament today by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well-being Alex Neil MSP.

“I have a long-standing interest in how the public sector discharges its obligations to care for it citizens and have been greatly reassured by the Cabinet Secretary’s Statement.

“I note and welcome the plan to ‘begin consulting on new National Care Standards at the end of May’ and the statement that the Scottish Government wants everyone ‘to receive a high level of care no matter what service they use or where they live’.

“We all understand the challenges of delivering health and social care in remote and rural areas of the Highlands and Islands so this reassurance, which the least we should expect, is none the less welcome.

“Given recent worrying instances of poor levels of care from parts of the private care home sector, I welcome the fact that the Care Inspectorate and Health Improvement Scotland ‘are also developing a new model for inspection of integrated care for adults beginning with older people.’

“Scrutiny of health board and local authority joint commissioning plans and ‘looking for new ways to encourage the adoption of the living wage across the entirety of the care sector are needed and welcome.

“I hope that the territorial health boards and local authorities will respond to the Cabinet Secretary‘s letter seeking to identify where further support is needed in intermediate care services.

“Anyone who has any doubts as to whether they may have not received the appropriate level of financial support, or indeed been overcharged, in respect of their continuing care should get in touch with me and I will be happy to assist them.

“I welcome the plan to legislate to ensure that carers and especially young carers receive the appropriate support and share the Ministerial pride that we provide Free Personal and Nursing Care for older people and long may that continue to be the case.

“It is quite shocking that the UK Government refuses to pay Attendance Allowance to those in Scotland in receipt of Free Personal Care; another example, if any was needed, as to why we must have full control of our welfare system. The Referendum gives us the opportunity to do just that and build on the excellent public services delivered by values public servants across the country.”