Human rights in health and social care in Scotland

Date: 8th March 2023
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare

In ‘the Opportunity is now’, researchers explore concerns and aspirations for the health and social care sector in Scotland from interviews taken with key stakeholders and across the sector. Opportunities for improvement that were identified include the National Care Service and incorporation of human rights.

Two incoming mechanisms could offer improvement of the social care system in Scotland. These are the promise of the incorporation of human rights in Scotland and the health and social care services undergoing structural reform with a new legislation to create a National Care Service.

This new research includes multiple interviews with key stakeholders within the health and social care sector, including MSPs, third sector actors and academics, to capture the main issues and aspirations within it, amidst these reforms. Questions included what next for human rights policy and health and social care in Scotland?’ to which multiple common themes were drawn from the answers. These included the need for more preparation for services in health and social care for incorporation and the reforms, a key driving change can be seen on the shift of inspection towards a human rights based approach, the issue of fragmented and disparate data collection and the need for improvement in the new National Care Service, barriers within the policymaking process in Scotland such as a tendency to use targeted specific policy outcomes to deal with issues rather than taking a certain (human rights) approach.

According to the researchers writing in August 2022, there was a general feeling from the interviewees that the human rights agenda and incorporation must be seized in Sturgeon’s tenure as First Minister, however since then the FM is stepping down and a commitment to a human rights agenda is yet to be made by a SNP leading candidate.

Read the Report here.