Children’s services risk being ‘Cinderella’ of National Care Service

CHILDREN services risk being the “Cinderella” of the new National Care Service, Barnardos has warned MSPs.

Giving evidence to Holyrood’s Education, Children and Young People committee, the charity’s director, Martin Crewe, said he was worried about the legislation which will see functions and staff currently managed by local authorities and health boards come under the control of new ‘care boards’ directly accountable to Scottish ministers.

There is anxiety among children’s groups and social workers that child social care could end up being taken into a service primarily designed for adults.

But equally not being part of the system could have a knock-on effect on whole family support.

“I think there’s a danger of being either in or out of it,” Mr Crewe told the committee.

“We currently spend around five times more on adults’ social care than we do on children’s social care. So the reality is that Children’s Services is the Cinderella here.”

He said they were not sure “whether we’re going to be invited to the ball or not.” 

“And to stretch the analogy a little bit. If we do get a ticket, the music will probably already be playing. And it might be a waltz, whereas we’d rather have a disco.”

He told the committee: “We’ve got a quarter of children in poverty across Scotland. We’ve got many families who were just coping, being pushed over the edge now into the cost of living crisis. 

“We’ve got existing services that are stretched and the thresholds of support to families are far higher than the early intervention that we would all like to see. 

“We’ve got the prospect of further austerity and public service cuts. We’ve got a retention and recruitment crisis within social care staff. 

“And on top of all of that, we’re trying to introduce The Promise. And you put all of that together and you say, okay, well, will the National Care Service address and improve things? 

“You know, it doesn’t really scratch the surface on a lot of those issues.”

Jude Currie, Chair, of the Scottish Association of Social Work said her members were concerned about the relationships between services, and worried that the reform could see them moved further away from the decision-making. 

She said there was already “so much stress in the system and distress in the system.”

“Our members, including myself, will work with a whole family network and that will include engaging with criminal justice, social work, health services, education, housing, all in one meeting. 

“For every ounce of depleted energy that we spend trying to navigate perhaps even more complicated structures because we’re perhaps outside or, or distant from what we need, it just takes away from the relational energy we need to be spending to help children and families benefit and realise their rights from the services.”

Ms Currie said that even if children’s services were not included in the National Care Service framework it would still have an impact. 

Social workers working with a 14-year-old now may need social care support in adult services within the next few years, but “the apprehension that we are engaging with starts now, our work with that family starts now.” 


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We must weed out rogues in aesthetic surgery sector

CONTRARY to popular myth, most people do not approach the medical intervention of aesthetic surgery lightly. Rather, they are seeking a practical and enduring result to an issue which has been adversely affecting their lives.

In the overwhelming majority of procedures carried out by sensible, qualified professionals, this is exactly the result which is achieved, and it is no exaggeration to say that patients’ lives are routinely transformed for the better.

However, as in life, occasionally the unexpected can happen and something can go wrong during or after a treatment, leaving a vulnerable and distraught patient and a bewildered doctor seeking to rapidly rectify the situation.

This is why responsible medical professionals in the field are so willing not only to educate and support practitioners in the sensitive area of complication avoidance and management but to provide real-time expertise, advice and guidance to colleagues.

After several years of contributing to a worldwide group providing support in aesthetic complications, I became a founding member, and now Vice Chair, of the not-for-profit Complications in Medical Aesthetics Collaborative (CMAC), which was established in 2020 to maximise safety in clinical practice.

CMAC is focused on avoiding complications in the first place and, while it accepts that interventions come with inherent risk, it wants to educate and guide to accurately assess that risk.

It remains of concern, however, that not all people seeking aesthetic improvement turn in the first instance to properly qualified practitioners. Prospective patients understandably would like to minimise costs and there are charlatans out there who seek to exploit this impulse.

It may come as a shock that Botox, though it is a prescription drug, can be bought freely on sites such as eBay without the slightest medical justification. The results of this laxity can be quite horrific on a physical and personal level.

What is equally disturbing is that people who find themselves facing post-treatment complications can expect little help – and very little sympathy – from the NHS.

As a general rule, the National Health Service refuses to become involved in such personal tragedies. The view appears to be that, since the original treatment was carried out privately, as far as they are concerned it is simply misadventure.

In part, it is true that there is minimal complication management expertise in the NHS, but it is hard not to feel that they simply don’t want to be involved. The attitude is: we didn’t cause the problem, so we’re not going to fix it. However, that argument is immediately set aside in the case of, say, a motorcycle injury.

It is reassuring that medical and other professionals in the aesthetics field are working collectively and collaboratively to support people suffering as a result of the mistakes of unqualified providers and the indifference of the NHS.

While people with no training in anatomy, no understanding of pharmacology and little regard for basic medical disciplines can continue to trade with impunity, the services of organisations such as CMAC will continue to be of vital importance.

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South of Scotland named one of the world’s top travel destinations

The south of Scotland has been named one of the best places in the world to visit by a renowned travel guide.

Lonely Planet publishes its ‘Best in Travel’ list every year, recommending places around the world in various categories.

For 2023 it has named the south as one of the best educational places to visit, alongside Manchester, New Mexico, Dresden, El Salvador and Marseille.

Organisers say the region’s history and culture make it the ideal place for delving into the past to learn more about iconic figures such as Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott.  

HeraldScotland: Robert Burns.

Responding to the South of Scotland’s inclusion Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said: “Scotland is one of the world’s most iconic destinations with diverse and varied regions to be explored.

“The inclusion of the South of Scotland in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023, only highlights this rich diversity.

“This recognition will put the South of Scotland on the map for more foreign and domestic visitors and encourage them to stay longer and spend more as they sustainably explore and discover the region’s historical, cultural and natural attractions.

“This will contribute to supporting the recovery of the tourism and hospitality sector.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “There are a wealth of fantastic experiences, stunning scenery and natural assets to discover in the South of Scotland, from its dark skies that make it the ideal location for star gazing to its breath-taking coastline and world-renowned walking and cycling routes.   

“Scotland’s history, heritage and culture is what defines the country for many people, and one of the top reasons for visiting. The South of Scotland has close ties to some of our country’s most iconic literary figures and is home to many historical assets and attractions that offer visitors the opportunity to learn more about our fascinating country by delving into the past.  

“To be included in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 guide is a fantastic accolade for the South of Scotland and will help provide a welcome boost to the recovery of our valuable tourism industry by connecting with visitors from across the world and encourage them to explore the region more widely.  

“Tourism is a force for good. It creates jobs, sustains communities and contributes significantly to the economy.”  

Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2023” list: 


Umbria, Italy 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

Fukuoka, Japan 

Lima, Peru 

South Africa 

Montevideo, Uruguay 


Istanbul to Sofia 

Nova Scotia, Canada 



Western Australia 

Parque National Naturales, Columbia 


Halkidiki, Greece 



Raja Ampat, Indonesia 






Accra, Ghana 

Sydney, Australia 


Boise, USA 


Manchester, UK 

New Mexico, USA 

Dresden, Germany 

El Salvador 

Southern Scotland 

Marseille, France