I can’t seem to access the 2019 report mentioned above (send me it if you can) but their 2018 research report on better health and care seems worth a revisit to see what they had to say about the situation in Scotland, comparatively, and due to Scottish Government action:
- Progress on smoking can be maintained by extending smoke free areas onto our highstreets and parks alongside other public places. England should also step up action to address alcohol consumption by following Scotland’s lead and introducing a minimum price on alcohol (BMJ 2017b). Analysis shows that a 50p minimum unit price could reduce alcohol-related deaths by over a 1,000 and save £1.1 billion in costs over a five-year period (Foundation for Liver Research 2017).
- Whichever way you look at it, the case for comprehensive funding and reform of social care is unassailable. Investment in social care makes good sense. If social care were a medicine, it would be NICE approved. Moreover, it is the right thing to do for elderly people and their families. Society as a whole must confront the challenge and embrace bold reform. Recent years have seen multiple proposals for reform. These include: free personal social and nursing care – as in Scotland (Barker 2014).
- Free personal and nursing care promotes investment in prevention and reduces frictional costs. This would create a more coherent and logical system (for example, creating parity of esteem between conditions such as cancer and dementia). But it would also allow for better integration of care. For example, Scotland’s experience suggests that it can help move care into the community and reduce frictions such as delayed transfers of care (Bell et al 2013).
- The possibility of free personal social care reducing cost elsewhere in the system is borne out by evidence from Scotland, where increased spending on social care has resulted in lower spending overall on health and care for older people (Bell et al 2013).