Scottish Labour warns of £20m black hole in care budgets

Jackie Baillie says the cuts will have a negative impact. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Jackie Baillie says the cuts will have a negative impact. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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Flagship Scottish Government plans to merge health and social care services would leave a £20 million black hole in services in Glasgow alone, Labour has claimed.

The party’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie says she has seen analysis by Greater Glasgow and Clyde showing the deficit and has urged the SNP to set out the impact on services.

“These are cuts we don’t have to make,” Ms Baillie said.

Ministers have claimed that historic changes in the way health and social care services are delivered, in a new joint set-up, will mitigate the impact of the £350m in cuts facing local authorities.

New laws have been passed at Holyrood to drive through the change in a bid to cut bed-blocking and aid the transition to nursing home care or home care. People with long-term conditions, disabilities and the elderly are expected to see the greatest benefit.

But Ms Baillie insists the £20m deficit in Glasgow, along with hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts to local services, will have a “negative impact” on older people.

“The SNP need to come clean on the impact of their cuts on our older people that may need extra care in later life,” Ms Baillie said.

“We can end austerity in Scotland by taking different, fairer decisions on tax.”

Concerns have been raised over many patients being left for weeks in hospital while a care package is arranged. Labour has proposed a one pence rise in income tax and has pledged to invest an additional £30m in social care, to deliver a care package within a week of assessment.

Ms Baillie added: “Labour would relieve the pressures on our hospitals by protecting the health budget and spending it better.

“That would help our health service, established in the 1940s, to meet the challenges of the 2040s.

“More than 270 Scots died in the last year waiting for a care package. That is simply 
scandalous.”

The Scottish Government hopes it will ease the pressure on hospitals by speeding up the journey of patients.

It has previously been estimated that at least 60 per cent of NHS budgets and 72 per cent of council social care budgets will be handed over to the new “integration authorities”.

Concerns emerged earlier this month that a lack of leadership and planning is preventing health and social care services changing fast enough.

Research for the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission said current ways of working were unsustainable.

Challenges include an ageing population and financial pressures, the report found.

The Scottish Government said it recognised the new demands and was taking steps to counter them.