Getting the system right will show if we truly care
Public health experts have warned for months of a social care sector at breaking point.
High levels of Covid-19 infection have left thousands of staff in self isolation and unable to work.
But there are other longer term issues as well, with many employees leaving the industry for better paid and less demanding jobs in supermarkets or the hospitality industry.
Now the crisis is really biting and the Government is considering proposals to pay relatives to do the job of home carers in a bid to prevent hospital bed blocking.
On Orkney, the local authority offered relatives £15 an hour to step in as home carers for their family members.
The wage level is £5 more than most care staff earn in their full-time jobs.
The GMB union has argued for more than a year that a quality social care sector requires a workforce being paid a reasonable wage for what is a demanding and skilled job.
Nicola Sturgeon has committed to setting up a National Care Service for Scotland.
When it comes into being, and whatever form it takes, it will only be as good as the people who work for it.
People will only get the care they deserve if those delivering it are cared for as well.
New rail servicemust not sufferfate of failures
For years rail passengers have endured rocketing fares and plunging service levels.
The Scottish Government has now decided enough is enough and will take the ScotRail franchise into its own hands via a nationalised holding company in April.
There is a strong argument that railways are a good example of a public service well suited to being run publicly.
But that is entirely dependent on a competent Government running it.
In recent years the SNP has consistently failed miserably in its numerous forays into the private sector.
Scotland’s Auditor General recently warned hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash had been blown on misguided attempts to rescue Prestwick Airport, BiFab, Ferguson Marine shipyard and a Highlands steelworks.
Let’s hope ScotRail will be different, but it doesn’t give much confidence that the first two senior appointments have been a chief operating officer with no experience in railways and a chief executive who is also the director of a private transport consultancy.
Chris Gibb will no doubt be very well paid from the public purse and should resign from his sideline to avoid derailing public confidence before the first departure.