• Health and Social Care Strategy for Older People in Scotland – CTA’s Response

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    • Health and Social Care Strategy for Older People in Scotland – CTA’s Response
    • by David Kelly
      Director for Scotland

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    A few weeks ago, we were delighted to help STV News share the stories of Coalfield Community Transport’s passengers with the nation in a report that was both heart-warming and heart-breaking.

    Betty, a regular user of their door-to-door shopping service in East Ayrshire, said: “It lets me go for my messages once a week. If it didn’t exist, I’d never be out the house. It’s the only time I’m out, that’s me till next Thursday.”

    That’s the power of Community Transport. We bring people and communities together and tackle exclusion, isolation and loneliness, especially among older people. As you’ll hear me say often in the coming weeks and months, Community Transport is so much more than just a minibus.

    The local charities, community groups and social enterprises of Scotland’s Community Transport sector are at the heart of their communities. The services you provide often represent the only accessible, affordable means for older people to get out and about – especially if they’ve got a disability or live in a remote, rural or island place.

    CTA shares the Scottish Government’s ambition to make Scotland ‘the best place in the world to grow old’. We therefore welcomed the Scottish Government’s work on co-producing a Health and Social Care Strategy for Older People with Scotland’s older people and the third sector organisations which deliver advice, services and support to meet their needs.

    Our consultation response – which you can read here – sets out how we believe the Community Transport sector can work with the public sector to meet the transport needs of older people, because access to amenities, education, employment, family and friends, health & social care and other public services is so important for physical and mental health and wellbeing.

    Our submission makes the following key points:

    • Community Transport supports Scotland’s older people to live happily, healthily and more independently for longer in their own homes and communities, thereby reducing long-term costs for the health & social care system through prevention and early intervention
    • Many older people rely on Community Transport to access amenities, education, employment, family and friends and health & social care, as well as other public services (e.g. swimming pools, libraries) or support groups (e.g. book groups, lunch clubs) which improve physical and mental health and wellbeing
    • A lack of funding from the NHS and Health & Social Care Partnerships for Community Transport schemes which provide non-emergency patient transport results in missed appointments, higher costs and worse health outcomes and inequalities experienced by older people
    • Accessible, inclusive transport in their local community should be considered an integral part of holistic, person-centred care packages for older people
    • Health, social care and transport services should be aligned. A more joined-up, strategic approach to non-emergency patient transport is required, backed by long-term planning, stable public funding and genuine partnership working between the NHS, Health & Social Care Partnerships, the forthcoming National Care Service and the Community Transport sector

    To find out more, download our consultation response in full here.

    Got feedback to share or want to get involved in shaping CTA’s policy positions? Drop me a line at david.kelly@ctauk.org. If you work in Scotland’s health & social care sector and want to explore how to collaborate with your local operators, I’d also love to hear from you.

    We’ll be discussing these issues and much more at CTA Scotland Conference 2022 in Perth on 20 September. We can’t wait to see you again in-person. Remember, it’s completely free for CTA members!

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