1. Ministerial Foreword
As the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care and Minister for Equalities and Older People, we are proud to launch this consultation which seeks views on a health and social care strategy for older people.
Following our Statement of Intent published in March 2021, we have engaged with a wide range of older people to get their views on their health and social care services, how these have been affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic and how these services could improve, to better meet the needs of our ageing population.
The importance of health and social care of older people has never been more urgent – with a quarter of Scotland's population projected to be aged 65 years and over by mid-2043, and the impact that the pandemic has had on older people. This has brought to light the inequalities that many older people face in being able to access a wide range of support services, allowing them to maintain their health and wellbeing and help prevent social isolation and frailty, which can then lead to falls and ill health.
Our framework 'A Fairer Scotland for Older People' recognised that remaining active and engaged in communities is a clear priority for older people, that chronic loneliness is harmful to mental and physical health, and that tackling social isolation and loneliness is fundamental to a thriving older age.
We were clear in our Statement of Intent that our Strategy would be co-produced with older people, and we would like to thank those who took part in our engagement events in the autumn of 2021. Your frank, open and honest views and opinions have been used to form this consultation paper. However, this is just the beginning of our engagement, and we are keen to hear from a wider range of older people and the organisations that support them during this consultation period. We will meet with as many of you as we can, and we want to hear from you on the issues raised in the consultation, as well as any other comments you have. This is your opportunity to influence and form the health and social care services which serve you, to ensure that they meet your needs. We want to hear from older people from all backgrounds, from all areas of Scotland, understanding that health and social care services must be developed and adapted to meet the needs of its local population.
We also want to hear from the wide range of clinicians and health professionals who provide this care – ensuring that we provide integrated care for all older people, no matter where in Scotland they live.
As we undertake the work to co-produce a Health and Social Care Strategy for older people, we will ensure that health and social care services are designed around the needs of older people, allowing them to enjoy a high quality of life, so they can live actively and independently in their own homes and communities for as long as they wish, and make Scotland the best place in the world to grow older.
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care
Minister for Equalities and Older People
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