About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) comprises a national report and a dashboard of more detailed analyses on people receiving social care support and services in Scotland during 2018/19. The statistics in the publication cover a range of themes, both social care specifically and in the context of integrated health and social care. Key themes include people’s choices under self-directed support, and the support delivered at home or in a care home.

Revised 17 December 2020. Following a data quality assurance review, an error was discovered in the home care hours submitted for Glasgow City for 2018/19. As a result, the 2018/19 home care hours for Glasgow City and Scotland have been revised. The affected figures have been highlighted in the report, the balance of care excel workbook and in the relevant home care dashboard analyses.

Main points

  • An estimated 1 in 20 people of all ages in Scotland were reported as receiving social care support and services at some point during 2018/19.
  • It is estimated that nearly four out of five (79.4%) people were involved in choosing and controlling their support through self-directed support options (based on circumstances where people have a choice).
  • An estimated 91,810 people in Scotland received home care for the whole or part of the year ending 31 March 2019. This is equivalent to 17 people per 1,000 population.
  • Some 45,845 people received funding towards a long stay care home place in Scotland for the whole or part of 2018/19. In addition, a further 5,760 people were supported during a short stay in a care home, such as for respite or for reablement (figures exclude Orkney and Western Isles).
  • In 2018/19, an estimated 136,900 people had an active community alarm and/or a telecare service. This is a 3.8% increase in provision from the previous year.


PHS assumed responsibility for the collection and analysis of certain national social care data in 2018. Prior to this the information was part of the remit of the Scottish Government. The new organisational arrangements were accompanied by an extension to the data collected. In particular, care home information was added and home care information changed from a snapshot ‘census’ week each year to full year coverage, provided in four quarters.

This wider coverage means that the social care data can be more readily linked to routinely collected health data to reveal care patterns across different parts of the health and social care landscape. Some examples of the use of these linkages have been included in this release.

The social care information that form the basis of all the analyses included in the release are provided by health and social care partnerships in Scotland. Note people entirely self-funding their care are not included.

Where longer term trend data or comparisons are shown, the figures for years prior to 2017/18 include those compiled and included in the Scottish Government Social Care Survey publication (external website).

One constraint in the reported statistics throughout the release is that not all partnerships were able to provide information for every social care service/support. Further information on data completeness and necessary estimation is provided in the main report and in the dashboard. In order to develop these statistics and due to the changes in the processing arrangements and some changes made to the content in the information collected, the figures in this release are classified as ‘Experimental Statistics’.

Further information on the data collection is available on the Data and Intelligence website (external website).

Further information

The next release of this publication will be in 2021.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.source@phs.scot.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 07 October 2022
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