Common Weal’s Care Reform Group are making this submission to the National Conversation on a new dementia strategy to register our objection to the way it is being conducted.
There is no background information to support the consultation: nothing on the facts and figures relating to dementia; no analysis; no attempt to learn from the third dementia strategy 2017-20 (which had a section on what had been learned from previous strategies); nothing about the extent to which the seven outcomes and 21 commitments made in the previous strategy have been achieved. The consultation claims the new strategy will “build on” “taking a person-centred and flexible approach” but without any explanation of how much progress has been made on this or how much remains to be achieved, let alone the reasons for this. The foundations of this new strategy are being built on shifting sand.
That does not prevent the short introduction to the consultation from making the extravagant claim that, since the Scottish Government adopted the ambition to improve “care and support for people with dementia and those who care from them” in 2007, “dementia services have been transformed”. This claim is highly questionable and ignores the history. In fact, around the turn of the century, there was considerable focus on developing new services for people with dementia.
Glasgow, for example, developed handypersons services (to help make homes for people with dementia safe), specialist home support services, specialist day and specialist residential facilities mostly financed by Resource Transfer monies from the NHS. To put matters in perspective it might be worth asking how many of those services have survived the cuts of the last 12 years?
The fact is that services for people with dementia are in crisis. That became obvious during the Covid pandemic but there is no mention in the consultation of the crisis, its impact on people with dementia or what could be learned. Nor is there any mention of the National Care Service despite the fact that whatever the scope of this people with dementia will form the single largest group of people needing care. The biggest issue of all, resources, is simply ignored.
Having failed to explain what has happened before it is particularly ironic that one of the questions is “What do we need to build on/learn from what has been done before?”
We hope these comments help explain why we have no confidence in the current consultation process and why a re-think is required.