SSSC Council Member, Dame Anne Begg tells us about her recent visits to two different services in Aberdeen as part of her SSSC induction.
‘The first visit was to an Inspire run supported accommodation for adults with disabilities, situated in two purpose built bungalows in the leafy Airyhall area of Aberdeen.
‘Until recently the Viewfield houses were classed as a care home and because of this the staff were required to register with the SSSC. However, like many others it has been reclassified so the residents are now tenants which means that the staff are now care at home workers. The change has created extra work for staff, especially in providing office space which is not part of the resident’s living space, an issue which has still to be resolved.
‘My second visit was to the Rocking Horse nursery in the grounds of Aberdeen University in Old Aberdeen. I remember visiting the nursery over 10 years ago when it was in a beautiful, old building which was pretty impractical for a nursery for zero to five year olds. What a contrast this time! A brand new, eco-friendly purpose built building with an extensive garden, including some forest, creating a lovely environment for the children.
‘The Care Inspectorate had recently inspected Rocking Horse and they had achieved grade five in all areas. They are now working to improve and aiming for all sixes. The nursery is popular with both staff and students and they don’t have the perennial problem in Aberdeen of finding enough suitably qualified staff. It was heartening to see some male members of staff too.
‘On both visits I was made very welcome and because the weather was beautiful both days, I spent more time in the garden than indoors. But then the sun always shines in Aberdeen.
‘Staff in both services had some of the same concerns around the possibility of a rise in fees, particularly for part time staff. There was also some speculation that the need for formal qualifications was putting some people off moving into managerial positions.
‘I left with the impression of a workforce who saw their jobs as a vocation rather than work and were dedicated in providing a quality level of care. However, I also got a sense that those working in the adult care sector feel that it is their good will which makes the service work which is often made even more difficult by decisions taken way above their heads.’