In August and September Edinburgh Liberal Democrats carried out an online survey of the views and experiences that local people have of social care both at home and in nursing homes. 83% of respondents think the Scottish Government could have done more to protect care home residents in Edinburgh, where 58% of deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate were in care homes, during the first wave of the pandemic.
In analyzing the results, we noted that six out of ten people who completed the survey had experience of social care personally or via a family member either in the form of care at home, in a care home or both.
Experience of Care Homes
Those with experience of care homes were generally pleased with the care provided (70% of those with experience of care homes were entirely or generally pleased with the care provided). When asked about areas where care home fell short lack of activities and facilities for residents was the most common concern, along with lack or choice of care homes to meet needs locally, and concerns for some about quality of care and high costs. It is good to see that visiting restrictions are care homes have been relaxed, but it has taken too long (see Willie Rennie’s comments here)
Social care at home
The situation was more mixed for social care at home; 57% were entirely or generally pleased with the care provided, while 43% considered the service was not as good as they had hoped for, or simply not good enough. The most common concern was that visits were too short, with poor reliability, frequent staff changes and lack of response to issues raised among concerns.
The way we treat staff
In response to the question about what the Scottish Government should do about the low pay rates and potential low value placed on social care staff in the community and care homes, a large majority (77%) agreed that care workers should be treated as skilled professionals with better pay, job security and qualifications like staff in the NHS.
At the Scottish Liberal Democrat online autumn conference on 31 October 2020 our leader Willie Rennie MSP committed the party to a proper pay rise for care workers with a new career structure to reward them and give them all a career ladder that boosts their skills and pay at every step.