Shona Main is wrong to accuse Scottish Care of irresponsibility
in fighting for fairness for its member care homes (Politics, 22
Trading insults with the Association of Directors of Social Work,
of which Main is policy and parliamentary officer, and the
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, is a waste of time,
almost as wasteful as trying to persuade either to meet with us to
discuss the moral and financial dilemmas in caring for the
burgeoning number of older people in society.

Scottish Care applauds any standards and regulations designed to
improve the quality of care for people who require it. We always
have. However, it must be recognised that care has to be properly
funded. It becomes impossible to supply without the wherewithal to
implement it. Can I suggest Main reads the following reports, all
independent, and audited by such accountancy firms as KPMG and

  • The National Review Group Report of November, 2001, prepared
    and signed by the Scottish Executive, Scottish Care and Cosla.
  • Rhetoric or Reality? 2000.
  • Elderly Care, Laing & Buisson, 2001.
  • The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report of 2002.

Each proves that the independent sector suffers from gross
underfunding. Each shows that private nursing homes and residential
homes are closing because they cannot pay staff or implement new
care standards. Each indicates that local authority homes are
costing the taxpayer more in providing residential care, in many
cases £200 per person per week more, than the same care would
cost in the private sector.

These reports do not deal with gossip or conjecture – they are
fact-based, they are independent and they tell the truth. No one,
least of all Scottish Care, underestimates the cost involved if
Scotland is to provide properly for those who require care.
However, given that we have not been involved in any regular
consultation with local authorities, or become involved in any
partnerships despite the hopes of the NHS and Community Care Act
1990, we must, when so ignored, retain the right to tell the public
of the iniquities we face. We are starved of funding while local
authorities take from the taxpayer whatever they need to run their
own homes.

It is a galling that councillor Ronnie McCall, Cosla’s social work
spokesperson, accuses us of “appalling behaviour”, given that he
supports council home care, seemingly at any cost!

Scottish Care is willing to meet with the ADSW, Cosla or any other
relevant body, to consider the facts calmly. I do not know either
Main or McCall, but they have my phone number, and a call can begin
that process without further delay.

Joe Campbell is chairperson and chief executive of Scottish

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