Written by Rebecca Maughan and Ciara Geraghty

As two Occupational Therapy students on placement with Alzheimer Scotland, we were delighted to have the opportunity to work closely with the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG). We were asked to capture the group members opinion on the Scottish Government’s National Care Service Consultation. The consultation was launched in August 2021 to gather opinion on what a National Care Service should look like and how it should be implemented. To find out more about the consultation please click here.

SDWG Members thoughts on the National Care Service Consultation

It was clear from the group members who expressed their views that there were positives to the consultation document, however there were also some concerns.

Positives of the Consultation                                                            
  • It is a document that reads very encouragingly.
  • Overall, its aims are beneficial.
  • It is an opportunity for people with lived experience to be involved in something that could bring great change to Scotland’s social care system.
Negatives of the Consultation                                                      
  • The consultation process does not seem to be dementia friendly, There is no mention of dementia anywhere in the document. It is also an overly complicated document to read. At 136 pages, the original document it is difficult to read or to copy and print. 
  • The ‘quick read’ version includes too many boxes requiring comments and narratives and not enough Yes/No answers. Many of the Yes/No answers are open questions that don’t necessarily have a Yes/No answer.
  • It does not seem inclusive enough. What about people who cannot access the consultation? Or people who are cognitively impaired and may have difficulty engaging with the consultation in the way that is being offered. 
  • It doesn’t seem clear enough on who exactly is being consulted. 
  • There is no national media programme to explain that this consultation is happening and many people will not be aware it is taking place.
  • There doesn’t seem to be enough consideration given to the role of unpaid carers.
  • “We want people to thrive not just survive”. This is a great sentiment, but we need more evidence of this being put into practice. 

Despite the issues that this document poses, the opportunity that it gives to members did not go unnoticed. 

  • For many it has offered hope and a promise that they will be listened to and it is a step forward in the right direction. It is a “chance to fight the dementia corner”. 
  • By getting involved it will ensure that “everyone's voice can be heard”.
  • “It is wonderful to be a part of something that will hopefully change things for the better for people with dementia, be it older or younger”
  • “It is important for my future quality of life” It will make a great deal of difference to the way I approach life to know that I am in an appropriate setting with suitable therapeutic activities 
Get Involved

SDWG members want to encourage you to have your voice heard on the National Care Service Consultation. 

  • It is important for everyone with a lived experience of dementia to give their view and understand that this process is happening.
  • “Make sure that you have an expectation when you are completing the questions (in the consultation), because if you don’t have an expectation, you won't know if it (consultation) has worked.
  • “If you don’t take part, your views will not have been taken into consideration” 
  • “If there were no consultation and people don’t take part, the officials and the counsellors, the Integration Joint Board members will come up with what will suit local areas”

As one member so eloquently said:  

Get Involved

I would encourage everyone to take part, especially my colleagues in the SDWG, because we can all work together to broaden the understanding of the consultation and cause change for future generations. It could be an enormous step forward.