Officials have published a Holyrood bill with the intention of having more elderly patients cared for at home, rather than in hospitals. The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill comes light of the ever growing elderly population in Scotland – it estimated that the proportion of people in Scotland who are aged 75 or above will increase by 80% by the year 2035, meaning that it essential to ensure sufficient elderly care provision. The legislation would see NHS and local authority budgets integrated to allow for improved elderly care at home.
Health Secretary Alex Neil commented: “People in Scotland are living longer, healthier lives – which is good news. But it also means that services need to adapt in order to meet the challenges of a rapidly ageing population. The publication of this bill is a major step forward in public service reform, and integrating NHS and local authority budgets will help to reduce these delays.”
However, Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, Jackie Baillie, said that the bill was likely to be insufficient, as it lacked the “cohesiveness and direction” required to create a care system that is “seamless, simple, and provides the best quality care”.
The political debate continues, but it seems that there is an agreement about the need for better quality elderly care to be made available in the comfort of people’s own homes, rather than in hospital or care home.