Cosla, a one-time bastion of all things Labour, has slammed what might be described as labour’s flagship policy, the moving of social care from local authorities to NHS Scotland.
There is no doubt at all that closer co-operation between the NHS and social work departments all over Scotland is not only desirable but necessary, in order to remove bed-blocking caused by older people who are not sick enough to be in hospital, but too sick to be home alone, or with another elderly person. But surely this can be done without complete reorganisation of thousands of workers and transfer of them and their assets from councils to the NHS.
The disruption to vital services alone would make this a non starter. Losing one set of notes or letting one patient slip through the net would be a disaster for that person and their family, but the hundreds that would likely be mislaid just can’t be countenanced.
Additionally Cosla thinks that the cost of the exercise would be in the region of £300 million, and that is surely simply mad money to be spending at this time.
There must be a way of setting up a system of liaisons for an awful lot less money than that.
But surely the Labour party has been critical of LIT because of the fact that it removes the postcode lottery of local democracy and local council tax. Oh well...
Health Minister Shona Robison said that Cosla were right to be critical of Labour’s plans to create a new and expensive bureaucracy, but added that all parties recognised the need to improve services to meet the challenges of an ageing population and Westminster cuts to Scotland’s budget.
The SNP has set aside £70 million to enable local authorities to work more closely with NHS Scotland. Surely that’s the way forward. £230 million may not sound a lot in government terms but that kind of saving is the reason that John Swinney has been able to take on board cuts in income and yet maintain the standards that we have come to expect.
So yet another Labour policy in the bin, rubbished by experts, just like the knife crime nonsense of a few days ago, when train crash expert, Richard Baker doggedly stuck to his made up figures for the cost of knife crime to Scotland of half a billion pounds, where experts said that £10 million was an exaggerated outside guess, based on the cost to England, with 9+ times the population, being only £3 million.