Impact of pandemic not felt equally across society, says COSLA

The impacts of COVID-19 have not been felt equally across society, COSLA said today (Monday).

Commenting, COSLA’s Community Wellbeing Spokesperson Councillor Elena Whitham said: “The simple truth is that the impacts of the virus have not been felt equally across society.

“Our Blueprint outlines the steps needed to overcome inequalities which increase the chances of contracting COVID-19, and the longer-term impacts of both the disease and the measures that have been taken to control its spread.   

“We are working hard to ensure our recovery will be fair, inclusive, and address existing inequalities. Everyone should be able to realise their human rights as we fight poverty and discrimination.  

“In relation to my portfolio within COSLA  – Councils are working to improve housing stock.  We need good quality homes for everyone and for people to be able to live in well-connected, sustainable communities.  We don’t want a return to rough sleeping and will prioritise supporting those who are homeless so that their needs are met.  

“Marginalised groups need to be empowered, not left behind.  This includes supporting migrants at risk of destitution, those effected by the economic crisis and working with Gypsy/Traveller communities to ensure that they have access to safe accommodation and their rights are protected.  

“The value of Local Government can be seen in our response to COVID-19. Local Government must now be at the forefront of the recovery and renewal process. To do this we must be empowered and supported to deliver what local communities need.” 

David J Kennedy

Head of Media and Communication
T: 0131 474 9205 M: 07788452710
Twitter:  @COSLA

Care Inspectorate report to the Scottish Parliament on inspections, 14 October 2020

The Care Inspectorate has laid before the Scottish Parliament a report of inspections it has carried out in care services in the past two weeks.

This report covers inspections we have completed since those detailed in our previous report to parliament on 30 September 2020.

In order to robustly assess the arrangements put in place by care services to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Care Inspectorate inspections place a particular focus on infection prevention and control, personal protective equipment and staffing in care settings.  

This enables inspectors to focus on these areas while also considering the overall quality of care and impact on people’s wellbeing.  

The Parliamentary report is in addition to the normal process of publishing full inspection reports.  

For each care service inspected, inspection reports will be published by the Care Inspectorate in due course.

To meet the timescales imposed by legislation, the report to Parliament outlines high-level findings following oral feedback to care providers.

In due course and following normal publication protocols, the Care Inspectorate will publish more detailed individual reports on each inspection.

The report is available here:

Young people detained for mental health treatment – self harm is a key characteristic

The Mental Welfare Commission today published a new report analysing the detentions of young people aged 16 and 17 for mental health care and treatment in Scotland, and found self harm to be a key characteristic, particularly with young women.

There has been a rising number of detentions in this age group, and the Commission sought to understand better the characteristics and presentations of those young people detained for their care.

The new report analysed all detention forms for 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland over a five year period from 2014-15 to 2018-19. This amounted to 608 detentions under the Mental Health Act over the five years, relating to 402 young people.

There are two ways those detentions can take place. Most of the young people (421) were detained using short term detention certificates, which last up to 28 days and are the usual route into hospital care under the law as there are more safeguards. Emergency detention certificates, which allow for a person to be held in hospital for up to 72 hours while their condition is assessed, were used in 187 cases.

  • Numbers of 16 and 17 year olds being detained in Scotland under the Mental Health Act have risen from 106 in 2014-15, to 173 in 2018-19 – the five year period cover by the report.
  • Information reviewed included the reason for the detention and any other underlying mental health conditions noted on the detention forms. Key findings are:
  • Over the five-year period, 60% of detained patients displayed self-harming behaviours (suicidality or deliberate self-harm). This was higher in those detained on emergency detention certificates (EDCs) compared to short term detention certificates (STDCs) (74% and 53%, respectively).
  • There has been a rise in the proportion of detentions in which self-harming behaviour is reported over the last five years.
  • There has been an increase in detentions in which self-harming behaviour was reported in girls, whilst detentions reporting self-harming in boys decreased.
  • Most (81%) of the emergency detentions occurred during out-of-hours (weekends and 5pm-9am on weekdays) and 38% of STDCs occurred out-of- hours.
  • Only 51% of emergency detentions had consent of a mental health officer (MHO).
  • Most detentions related to concerns about the patient’s own safety, though boys more often presented as a risk to themselves and to other people compared to girls.
  • Psychotic symptoms/disorder was the most common presentation in all detentions (40%), with a higher proportion among boys than girls (54% and 32%, respectively).
  • Mood disorder/difficulties was described in 35% of patients, with an equal distribution in boys and girls (35% and 35%, respectively).
  • Substance use (confirmed or suspected) was indicated in seven percent of detentions, higher among boys than girls (12% and 4%, respectively).

Dr Arun Chopra, medical director, Mental Welfare Commission, said:

‘Mental illness in young people can be short term, or can be the start of a prolonged period of difficulty. It can disrupt education, the development of friendships and the transition into adulthood, significantly affecting both the young person and their family or carers. Getting the right help early can make a major difference.

‘We conducted this analysis because we knew that detentions of young people were rising, and we wanted to understand better the characteristics and presentations of young people who are so unwell that they need treated under the law. Our analysis does not attempt to say why the detentions are increasing, but it does give information on these two key issues.

“We now aim to share these findings and hope they might be a helpful contribution for young people, those important to them and the services and clinicians working with them, in considering who might be supported by developing intensive treatment services in the community and alternatives to hospital admissions.

“I am really glad to say we have a meeting later this month with clinical leads where this report, and the experience of family and carers, will be discussed.”

Personal experience from a parent

While the report contains detailed research information, the Commission is very aware that each detention relates to an individual. The detention of a young person can be traumatic for that young person and for their family. The Commission sought comment from the parent of a young person who was detained for treatment. That parent, whom we quote anonymously, found the experience very difficult, both due to her daughter’s ill health, and also due to the experience for family in dealing with the system and the way they were treated by professionals.

The parent welcomed the report, but also said:

“Our daughter struggles with bipolar disorder and anorexia. Sadly, as parents we have supported her through multiple crises, with hospital admissions for her eating disorder and serious near fatal overdoses during the years of her adolescence.

‘At our most terrified and vulnerable, we have felt utterly alone, despite “on paper” multiple services and agencies involved. Even if we were invited into the room, it often felt “token”, being brought in at the end of a consultation, for example to arrange a review date, after the real discussion had already taken place. Of course we understood and respected our daughter’s need for confidentiality, but there felt no true or meaningful connection with us as her family: we were so aware of every change in her behaviours or moods. Over time, this left us drained, exhausted and took its toll on our own mental health, at the very point we needed support to keep some strength and resilience.

‘If I could distil down something constructive and pour it into all the services we’ve been through, it would be this – we desperately want to get things the best they can be, not waste precious energy battling nor trying to be heard. Your “patient” is our whole world: we’re living this; we’re probably exhausted, scared, at our most vulnerable, and juggling other family or work commitments too. Please connect with us as human beings and take time to listen to what we have to say.

A link to the full report can be found here

ELHF is looking to spread some Christmas cheer

As the official charity for NHS Lothian, Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, provides Small Grants funding of up to £5,000 for NHS Lothian staff to take forward projects that will directly benefit patients, whether in hospital wards and departments or community health services.

You can also apply to this round of funding if you are looking to spread some Christmas cheer and provide some Christmas and New Year festivities for your patients. Funding can be used to support patient-related Christmas activities such as providing a modest individual gift or Christmas party food or decorations. Please note that the purchase of alcohol, tobacco or non-Christmas related items are not permitted.

The deadline to apply is Sunday, 1 November 2020.

Find out more about the funding criteria and how to apply for one of our small grants by visiting our website –

Still got questions? Why not get in touch? Drop us an email at

If you work for the partnership on a council contract, you can make nominations on behalf of patients too. If you can email your nomination to me at, I will get an NHS colleague to take your nomination forward for you.

A conversation with the people of Scotland

From The Alliance

As you may know, the Cabinet Secretary, through the Mobilisation Recovery Group, has invited the ALLIANCE to lead on engagement work with people and communities across Scotland to ensure remobilisation efforts have a core person-centred focus across the whole system. 

The Mobilisation Recovery Group was set up as an advisory group under Re-mobilise, Recover, Re-design, The Framework for NHS Scotland to generate key expert, stakeholder and system-wide input into decisions on resuming and supporting service provision, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has tested Scotland’s public services like never before, but it also presents an opportunity to redesign services with citizens and what matters to them at the heart. We want to ensure lived experience and the perspectives of all people across Scotland are heard in this conversation. The topics that the Cabinet Secretary would like to be discussed are around experience, priorities and future services. 

To achieve this, the ALLIANCE is hosting 5 local events in partnership with Healthcare Improvement Scotland on the following dates: 

We would be delighted to be joined by you and would be grateful if you could share these events amongst your networks.   

Alternatively, we are also holding an open call for health and wellbeing experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and comments on how people want to access health and care support and services as we respond to, and look beyond COVID-19. More guidance on how to submit experiences and comments is detailed on the ALLIANCE website. 

PS – If you are a part of a group and would like help to set up your own engagement meeting on Zoom or Teams, please email me at

Happy Allied Health Professionals Day!

Please take a minute to join in a day of collective action. The first ever AHPs Day was held in October 2018 to celebrate, appreciate and recognise the extraordinary work of the AHP workforce.

If you don’t know who counts as an AHP, here’s a list – art therapists, diagnostic radiographers, dietitians, drama therapists, music therapists, occupational therapists, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, podiatrists, prosthetists and orthotists, speech-and-language therapists and therapeutic radiographers.

Thank you to all our AHPs for everything you do. 🙂

An invitation to engage on Integration Joint Boards becoming Category 1 responders under Schedule 2 of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004

From Alison Macdonald. East Lothian IJB Chief Officer

I wanted to share this communication from Scottish Government with you. I hope you will take the opportunity to share your views on this. Thank you. Alison.

Today the Scottish Government has launched a consultation to ensure that there are no unintended or unexpected consequences to Integration Joint Boards becoming Category 1 responders under Schedule 2 of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. It is for this reason that I now write. As a valued partner I would like to encourage you to consider sharing your views by responding to the consultation by the closing date of 2 November. I would also ask that you share the consultation more widely within your networks or to those who would have an interest. The consultation can be accessed from the attached link:

I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to consider the consultation and for sharing your views. Should you have any issues accessing the consultation or would like to receive this in a different format please get in contact.

Thank you.

Consultation IJBCCA team

Integration Policy and Support
Governance, Evidence and Finance Division
Directorate for Mental Health and Social Care
DG Health and Social Care
St Andrews House
Regent  Road
Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Call out to services to take part in Near Me project

Iriss is working in partnership with the Scottish Government Near Me team (TEC Programme) to deliver a new project.

Following the increase in services using Near Me video consulting over recent months, Iriss is launching a project to explore how Near Me can be most effectively used in social services. Iriss is looking for interested services to take part in the project, which will run this autumn and winter.

Read the information pack for more information and how to register your interest.

Find out more about Near Me here.

New walk-through testing centre at Usher Hall

Some people, for example, those who work in care homes, social care and hospitals already have testing procedures in place. If you work in one of these settings and you need more information about what to do, please phone/email your line manager.

If you are not covered by these arrangements, a walk-through coronavirus (COVID-19) test centre has now opened at the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can get a free test, and must get tested as soon as their symptoms develop, however mild. Make an appointment here: