Care system not in 'position of strength' for reform, report finds

Stress, burnout and staff turnover is increasing among student nurses and care workers, research shows.

Care system not in ‘position of strength’ for reform, report finds iStock

Working conditions and staff experience in the social care sector are not in a “position of strength” to launch major reform, a report has said.

The Alliance Scotland, a coalition of groups in the health and social care sector, commissioned the report ahead of the proposed introduction of the National Care Service (NCS).

Social research firm Branch also examined the introduction of a human rights agenda into the sector as part of their report.

Following a series of interviews, the researchers said stress, burnout and staff turnover is increasing among student nurses and care workers.

They also highlighted outgoing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s role in pushing the human rights agenda, saying other members of the Scottish Government Cabinet may not be as enthusiastic.

Barry Black, a postgraduate researcher at Glasgow University who was part of the Branch work, said: “The current Scottish Government signalling of their commitment to the incorporation of human rights legislation to Scots law is to be commended.

“However, the conclusions of our report warn that it may now be at risk.

“Many in the sector view that its success is linked to Nicola Sturgeon’s commitment to the plans.

“It is unknown whether her successor will view the rights agenda as a priority, as our research found that there is not full buy-in from the Cabinet.

“Our research concluded that the state of the health and social care sector, and its working conditions, is not a position of strength on which to launch serious structural reforms – like the National Care Service.”

Sara Redmond, chief officer of development at The Alliance Scotland, said: “This research offers a thorough investigation of the position and impact of the rights agenda in health and social care.

“The research makes clear that incorporation of human rights will have a significant positive impact on the sector and crucially disabled people, people with long-term conditions and their unpaid carers.

“However, we know that there is some way to go to ensure that implementation can happen effectively.

“At a time of change, the opportunity is now for the new first minister to seize and deliver transformational change for people in Scotland.”

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