from recognition to rights

The Coalition of Carers in ScotlandThe Coalition of Carers holds 3 meetings a year throughout Scotland

Covid – 19- Information for Carers

By on March 24, 2020 in News

Information on unpaid carers and COVID-19 can be found on the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 advice for unpaid carers web-page. For further information, on the vaccine see the NHS Inform coronavirus vaccine web-page. If you have any enquiries about the COVID-19 vaccine, you can contact the Coronavirus Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (available 8am – […]

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Carers and PPE – Your Questions Answered

By on May 11, 2020 in News

The National Carer Organisations have produced a briefing paper to help carers, and those working to support them, understand in what circumstances carers can access and use PPE.

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Carers & Confidentiality

By on December 11, 2018 in News
Carers & Confidentiality

The Mental Welfare Commission has produced a guide to help carers and families understand consent, confidentiality, and sharing of information, where the person they care for has a mental illness, dementia, learning disability, autism, personality disorder, or other related condition. You can download a copy here

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Guide to SDS for people with dementia

By on November 30, 2018 in News
Guide to SDS for people with dementia

We are all entitled to have control over our own lives and to live as independently as possible. This applies to people with dementia as much as it does to anyone else. Having capacity to make decisions and being able to exercise legal capacity is important to making sure that this happens. MECOPP have produced […]

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Challenging Social Care Decisions: A legal guide

By on October 2, 2018 in News
Challenging Social Care Decisions: A legal guide

This guide has been commissioned by MECOPP to help explain when decisions made about social care can be challenged using the law; and how to go about doing it. The guide: Introduces key legal concepts. Discusses the legal definition of social care and whether the law gives a legal right to social care. Describes the […]

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First Carers Allowance Supplement due mid-September

By on August 30, 2018 in News

The Scottish Government has announced that carers will receive the first payment of the new Carer’s Allowance Supplement from mid-September, back-dated to April. A guide to Carers Allowance supplement can be downloaded here.pdf This new benefit will be paid twice a year by Social Security Scotland, the first major new public service to be created […]

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Tax On Me – Fighting the Care Tax with Hip-Hop

By on August 24, 2017 in News

Tax on Me Mediaco-op proudly presents 'Tax on Me'- 4-minute hip-hop protest film fighting the unjust 'Care Tax', one beat at a time! Please share and let's #fightcaretax ! Don't forget to turn up the audioMade in collaborations with SCVO Inclusion Scotland Scotland Against The Care Tax ENABLE Scotland Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland […]

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Information on unpaid carers and COVID-19 can be found on the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 advice for unpaid carers web-page.

For further information, on the vaccine see the NHS Inform coronavirus vaccine web-page. If you have any enquiries about the COVID-19 vaccine, you can contact the Coronavirus Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (available 8am – 8pm all week).

Covid-19 Vaccine and Carers – Frequently Asked Questions
The National Carer Organisations have produced a factsheet for carers answering some frequently asked questions about the vaccine, including

  • Where are carers on the priority list?
  • When will I get the vaccine?
  • How will carers know when it is their turn to get the vaccine?

The Coronavirus Act – Your Questions Answered

This information will be updated regularly to keep pace with developments as they happen.  This is Version One, Published on the 31st March 2020.
It can be downloaded here

Why is there a Coronavirus Act?
The Act is designed to strengthen the government’s response to Covid-19.  This includes measures to reduce the spread of the disease, protect vulnerable people, care for those who require hospital treatment and keep essential services running.

 Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said:

“It is only because of the extraordinary public health challenge confronting us, as a result of the global pandemic, that these measures have had to be considered”[1]

Does this apply to Scotland?
Yes, the Act covers all 4 nations.  Some of the actions in it don’t apply to Scotland, as they relate to English law.  Other parts of it are specific to Scotland, including some actions relating to The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 and the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013.

What is contained in the Coronavirus Act?
The Act sets out actions in 5 areas.  These actions will only be taken when required and for as short a time as necessary. 

This is a summary of some of the key measures:

Measures to increase the care workforce. 
– This includes emergency registration for retired professionals and students who are about to qualify
– The introduction of emergency volunteer leave.

Easing the burden on frontline staff by reducing admin tasks and suspending some of their current duties.
– Not everyone who requests an Adult Carer Support Plan, a Young Carer Statement, or a needs assessment will receive one.  This is in order to free up resources for local services to prioritise people with the greatest needs and to avoid any unnecessary delay in providing support.
– Changes to mental health legislation, including removal of time limits for treatment and changes to the powers needed to detain and treat patients.

Containing and Slowing the Virus
– Restricting and prohibiting events and gatherings
– Closing schools and childcare facilities
– The ability for Scotland to make its own regulations for additional measures to delay and prevent the spread of the virus

Managing the deceased with respect and dignity
– Measures to enable the death management system to deal with increased demand for its services

Supporting People
– Payment of Statutory Sick Pay from the first day people are off work
– Employers of less than 250 people can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for sickness absences related to coronavirus

To read more about the contents of the Act you can download further information here

Is this law yet?
The Act received Royal assent on the 25th March, which means it is now law. 

The government is currently writing guidance to accompany the Act, which will set out in greater detail how these measures will work in practice.

This Act works slightly differently to most other legislation because the measures set out in it can be switched on and off depending on when they are needed.  It is also time-limited to 2 years.

When will the measures be switched on and for how long?
Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said:

“These are emergency powers that will be in force temporarily and only used if required”.

Although legislation as a whole will be in place for an initial period of two years, this could be shortened or lengthened by regulations, and it will be reviewed as a whole every six months.

Where matters are devolved in Scotland, including the provision of health and social care, the Scottish Government will decide when measures will come into force.  It is even possible that different areas in Scotland could have different measures in force at different times, to enable local areas to respond effectively to local issues.

Are there any measures in the Act specifically relating to carers
Yes, the Act temporarily relaxes the duty in the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 which provides all carers with the right to an Adult Carer Support Plan or a Young Carer Statement.

It also relaxes the duty to provide a needs assessment for people who require care.

This means that as a temporary measure, local authorities do not have to undertake a full assessment for carers, or the people they care for.
This is to enable local authorities to prioritise people with the greatest needs and to avoid any unnecessary delay in providing support.

These measures haven’t been switched on yet in Scotland, we will let you know when this happens

How will this change the way carers get support

Local authorities will still be expected to do as much as they can to comply with their duties to meet needs during this period and these amendments would not remove the duty of care they have towards an individual’s risk of serious neglect or harm.  The duty to provide social care support and carer support will remain in place.

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said:

The bill does not remove the obligation on local authorities to provide care; it removes the obligation to undertake a full assessment, if that assessment cannot be undertaken in such a way that will expedite the delivery of social care. If there is a difficulty in the bureaucratic system, the provision will reduce that”

Where carers require support, they should still contact their local carers centre or their local authority

Will Scotland be developing its own legislation?
Yes, Scotland is intending to develop its own coronavirus legislation which will cover further issues that are devolved to Scotland.

This will be developed in the Spring.

We will keep you up to date with developments.

How will the Act be regulated and monitored?
Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said:

I make a commitment here today that we will institute, after discussion across the Parliament, appropriate reporting on how and when the powers in the bill have been used by the Scottish Government and in our own further emergency Coronavirus legislation. …. We will embed such reporting and renewal – including on our use of provisions in the UK Bill – in law.”

Covid-19 Advice for carers

The following advice was issued by the Scottish Government on the 19th March

Anyone providing regular support to a vulnerable friend or relative will want to do what they can to protect their own health and the health of those they look after during the coronavirus outbreak.

Like everyone, unpaid carers (including young carers) and people being cared for should familiarise themselves with the public health advice on how to protect themselves from infection. As the situation is changing quickly, the guidance may also change, so carers should check regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance on coronavirus on the NHS inform website.

Carers who do not already have an emergency plan in place may also want to talk with family and friends about who could take over their caring role if they become ill or need to self-isolate – particularly while social work services are under additional pressure during the coronavirus outbreak. It will also be important to make sure that you have key information about the person you care for easily available – so that anyone taking over their care has all the information they need.

Where carers and family and friends are unable to provide essential care for someone, they should contact their local social work department. See the social work department contact details.

See NHS 24 for advice on coronavirus symptoms, precautions to take, and what to do if you think you may have become ill with coronavirus.