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Social Care Eligibility Criteria And Waiting Times, Scotland, 2020-21

This publication presents the latest information on new clients meeting eligibility criteria for social care support, and the waiting times between first contact, completion of a community care assessment and delivery of a new personal care service.

This document is part of a collection


3. Waiting times

3.1 Time between first contact and completion of assessment

The time interval for new clients, from first contact to completion of a community care assessment, is recorded for each of the eligibility categories (Section 2.1: New clients receiving an assessment). As part of the development of the National Care Service (NCS), Scottish Government has committed to the overhaul of the current mechanism of eligibility criteria.

Scottish Government and COSLA will remove eligibility criteria in their current form by moving away from a focus on risk and instead focusing on enabling people to access the care and support that they need to lead a full life. This will mean significantly changing the way care and support services are designed, so that prevention and early intervention is prioritised and people can move easily between different types of care and support as their needs change.

This data provides insight into the variation across Scotland and will inform any future decisions on a possible national standard.

As shown in Figure 3, for the 16 local authorities that submitted data each year on older clients (aged 65 and over) there was a decline in the percentage, from 26% in 2012 to 18% in 2019, waiting more than six weeks. In 2020, there was a peak of 28% of older clients, and subsequent decline to 21% in 2021, waiting for more than six weeks. The peak in 2020 coincides with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions brought in to protect vulnerable people, and there is a corresponding decline, to 49% in 2020, of the percentage of older clients receiving care within two weeks.

For the 19 local authorities which submitted data on younger clients each year (aged 18 to 64), the waiting times show similar trends to that of older clients, with a peak of 50% of younger clients waiting more than six weeks in 2020, and corresponding decline, to 28% of younger clients receiving care within two weeks. In 2021, the percentage of clients waiting more than six weeks fell to 36%, whereas the percentage waiting less than two weeks increased to 39%.

See accompanying dataset for local authority data and to determine which local authorities responded every year.

Figure 3: In 2020 there is a rise in the proportion of all adults waiting more than six weeks between first contact and completion of a community care assessment. Time intervals recorded for clients in the all eligibility criteria category between first contact and completion of a community care assessment, in local authorities that responded every year, Scotland, 2012 - 2021
Two line charts showing the percentage of clients in each time interval category, split by age: 65 and over and 18 to 64, between first contact and completion of a community care assessment, in local authorities that responded every year. The graph on the left shows there has been a steady decline from 26% in 2012 to 18% in 2019 of older clients waiting more than six weeks, before rising to a peak of 28% in 2020. The graph on the right shows that waiting times for younger clients (aged 18 to 64) are similar to that of older clients, with a peak of 50% younger clients waiting more than six weeks.

Source: Scottish Government Quarterly Monitoring Return

Notes:

1. For clients aged 65 and over, 16 local authorities responded every year between 2012 and 2021, and for clients aged 18 to 64, 19 local authorities responded. Please see data completeness in the accompanying dataset for which local authorities.

3.2 Time between completion of assessment and service delivery

The time interval from completion of a community care assessment to delivery of a relevant service for new personal care clients is recorded for each of the eligibility categories (detailed in Section 2.2: New Personal Care clients). This data is used to monitor the six week waiting time target to deliver Personal Care for all adults (from 2019 onwards, previously only older clients aged 65 and over) who have been assessed in the critical or substantial needs categories.

As shown in Figure 4, for the 15 local authorities which submitted data each year on older clients (aged 65 and over) there has been a steady increase in the percentage, from 3% in 2013 to 19% in 2020, waiting more than six weeks for service delivery. There is a corresponding decline in the percentage of older clients receiving service delivery in less than or equal to two weeks from 70% in 2013 to 45% in 2020. However, in 2021, the percentage waiting more than six weeks for service delivery declined slightly to 18%, and the percentage of older clients receiving service delivery in less than or equal to two weeks increased to 52%.

For the 20 local authorities which submitted data on younger clients (aged 18 to 64) each year, there has been a decline in the percentage, from 68% in 2019 to 56% in 2021, receiving a personal care service prior to completion of the assessment or less than or equal to two weeks. There is a corresponding increase from 16% to 25%, in the proportion of younger clients waiting more than six weeks.

See accompanying dataset for local authority data and to determine which local authorities responded every year.

Figure 4: The percentage of adults receiving a new service in less than 2 weeks has declined and there's a corresponding increase in the percentage waiting more than 6 weeks between assessment and service delivery. Time intervals recorded for clients in the all eligibility criteria category between completion of assessment and new personal service delivery, in local authorities that responded every year, Scotland, 2012 – 2021
Two line charts showing the percentage of clients in each time interval category, split by age, between completion of a community care assessment and delivery of a relevant personal care service, in local authorities that responded every year. The graph on the left shows there has been a steady increase of older clients in any eligibility criteria category, from 3% in 2013 to 19% in 2020, waiting more than six weeks for service delivery. The graph on the right shows there has been a decline of younger clients in all eligibility criteria categories, from 68% in 2019 to 56% in 2021, receiving a personal care service in less than two weeks.

Source: Scottish Government Quarterly Monitoring Return

Notes:

1. For clients aged 65 and over, 15 local authorities responded, and for clients aged 18 to 64, 20 local authorities responded every year between 2012 and 2021. Please see data completeness in the accompanying dataset for which local authorities.

Contact

Email: SWStat@gov.scot

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