Thursday, 3 March 2016

Guest Post ALLIANCE Policy and Information Manager Andrew Strong - Infive years time…


This week’s blog post comes from my friend and colleague ,ALLIANCE Policy and Information Manager Andrew Strong, and his thoughts on the changing Health and Social Care scene, as well as the launch of our manifesto ahead of the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary election.3

In five years time…
The start of a new election campaign always brings with it the hope of a renewed ambition and a different path for the future.  Over the five years since we last voted (general elections, referenda and X Factor finals excluded) we’ve seen a definite shift in the perception of unpaid carers, people with long term conditions and disabled people living in Scotland.
From the growing level of concern about the processes used to decide eligibility for social security and the new powers of the Scottish Parliament, to the often controversial implementation of self-directed support and choice and control over social care – the rights of our members have been front and centre of the political and policy narrative in the last five years.
Amongst this have been some particularly positive developments.  For example, the Carers (Scotland) Act, which has now passed through Scottish Parliament and into law, clarifies and underlines the rights of carers and how local authorities must plan support.  On a personal level, I was delighted to see the inclusion of new duties related to emergency planning – long pursued by older carers of people with learning disabilities in particular.
The Scottish Government has also sought to integrate health and social care, creating 31 new Health and Social Care Partnerships designed to deliver on 9 person centred outcomes.  Whilst it’s still in its infancy, new Partnerships go live on 1 April 2016, the signs are positive of a step change in the design and delivery of support and services with engagement of the people who use them, carers and the third sector in decision making processes.
There is, however, still so much to do.  That’s why the ALLIANCE has published 2 Million Expert Voices, our new manifesto for health and social care, outlining 18 asks of the new crop of MSPs.  It aims to strike a balance between the need to prevent issues before they arise, creating a socially just Scotland and ensuring the voice of lived experience is well heard.
To support it we would like to hear from you.  What are your priorities for the future?  Which of our 18 asks are you most in support of and why?  Let me know by email at: andrew.strong@alliance-scotland.org.uk along with a photo and we will include on the Have Your Say section of our new 4in10 manifesto website alongside ALLIANCE members and Holyrood candidates.

We don’t yet know what the next five years will bring – but in advance of May’s election we need to make sure our voice is heard.

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