Malcolm calls for an urgent review into the commissioning of homecare services
Question on the death of Mr John Gibson Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab):
Without pre-judging council investigations into the death of my constituent John Gibson and the homecare services that he received, is the Deputy First Minister concerned that six complaints about the private homecare provider in question have been upheld by Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland - the care inspectorate - since February alone, and that employees of that and other homecare companies seem to be overburdened, with too many clients and too short a time with each client?

Will the Scottish Government undertake an urgent review of the way in which homecare services are commissioned and delivered, particularly in view of the increasing and welcome emphasis on homecare in health and social care policy?

Nicola Sturgeon:
I thank Malcolm Chisholm for his question. He raises an extremely serious matter, and I am sure that I speak on behalf of all members of the Parliament when I pass on our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Gibson.

Mr Gibsonís death has prompted the care inspectorate, City of Edinburgh Council, and Lothian and Borders Police to launch an investigation, and it is important that none of us pre-empts the outcome of those investigations. What I will say - and I hope that Malcolm Chisholm accepts the sincerity of this - is that I think that it is essential that we have in place in this country a robust system of inspection. When I was health secretary I took steps to strengthen the inspection system that we have in this country. As part of that, Malcolm Chisholm made some suggestions that this Government took forward.

My position is clear: let us await the outcome of the investigation. If there are actions to be taken to make our system more robust, I give Malcolm Chisholm an absolute assurance that this Government will not hesitate to take them.
September 27th 2012