Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has welcomed agreement by the Health Secretary, Shona Robison and Islands Minister, Humza Yousaf to look at how help can be provided to meet growing demands for self-directed support in Orkney.
Representatives of Orkney Health & Care and Advocacy Orkney also joined the meeting in parliament via video link.
The meeting was arranged to discuss The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013. Under the terms of the act local authorities have a duty to offer people who are eligible for social care a range of choices over how they receive their support. While this was intended to be ‘cost neutral’, with funding for self-directed support being paid for through the scaling back or withdrawal of local authority services, the experience locally has been very different. In Orkney, service growth has led to a doubling of the budget.
Following the meeting, Mr McArthur said:
“I am very grateful for the constructive way in which Shona Robison and Humza Yousaf have engaged with this issue. I also welcome their recognition of the particular challenges that Orkney faces in delivering the new arrangements for care support.
“It is, of course, absolutely right that people have as much choice as possible over the way in which they receive care. In this sense, Orkney deserves credit for leading the way in the number of people accessing self-directed support. However, it is increasingly clear that we are victims of our own success and that this is creating real budgetary pressures.
“Ministers have agreed to ask their officials to work with Orkney Health & Care, Advocacy Orkney and other local stakeholders to identify what additional advice, help and support might be provided. This, I know, will be appreciated.
“Looking further ahead, it was encouraging to hear both Ms Robison and Mr Yousaf agree to look at how upcoming legislation might be adapted to better reflect the specific circumstances in the islands. As long as the overall objectives can be met, and standards of care maintained and improved, we should be looking to be creative about how best this can be done in island communities.
“There are no easy solutions. Hopefully, however, today’s meeting has helped pave the way for ensuring that care provision in Orkney is high quality and sustainable over the long term”.