Inequalities in social care

inequalities in social care

Health inequalities are ultimately about differences in the status of people’s health. But the term is also commonly used to refer to differences in the care that people receive and the opportunities that they have to lead healthy lives; both of which can contribute to their health status.

Lucy, our CEO shares her thoughts on the evolution of social care:

How did social care come to be?

The concept of social care is very young, and emerged through the introduction of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990. Until the formation of the NHS and the social service state in 1948, care was focused on church and charity provision. From the mid-20th century, the state ensured the care of all, from cradle to grave.

Medicalised care

Even though changes had begun, care at this time was mostly medicalised. It was thought that people would be safer if they were cared for within hospital style institutions.  Modern day social care reform didn’t start until 1990. From this date, local authorities had to fully assess the needs of a person and create tailored support.

The National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 also began the process of closing hospitals and institutions; integrating people with disabilities into normal housing and communities.

Normalising disability

People who had lived separately from their families and communities were often seen as different and vulnerable, and best kept safe and protected. In this narrative, discrimination grew. Much of it was down to a lack of:

  • Education
  • Knowledge
  • Experience
  • Fear about disability

To many, it felt easier and more comfortable not to face or address differences. Barriers which excluded or made people feel unwelcome were easily formed.

Carr Gomm’s vision

Our challenge was to break down these barriers, to educate, to reassure, to show that all people could be equal participants in any community.  Our focus was always on encouraging equal access to community services and places. Actively challenging the status quo allowed us and others like us, to normalise difference.

Since day one, we have worked with people and communities to help build greater understanding, empathy, education, and acceptance about why difference and diversity makes for a better world all round.

To learn more about our beginnings as one of Scotland’s leading social care and community development charities, visit: