About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides information on people receiving social care support and services in Scotland across financial years 2019/20 and 2020/21. 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.

REVISION 24 May 2022: Following a data quality review, errors were discovered in the Care home app affecting number of stays in a Care home and the percentage of Long-stay residents receiving Nursing care. These figures have been revised and notes have been added to the relevant analysis impacted by these revisions.

Main points

  • An estimated 1 in 25 people in Scotland were reported as receiving social care support and services at some point during 2020/21.
  • In 2020/21 the rate per 1,000 population of people receiving social care support through any self-directed supported option increased from 18.15 (2019/20) to 20.55 people per 1,000 population.
  • An estimated 68,000 people in Scotland received home care for the quarter ending 31 March 2021 (an increase of around 1% from the same time period in 2019/20). This is equivalent to 12 people per 1,000 population.
  • Some 44,000 people received funding towards a long stay care home place in Scotland during 2020/21, this is a decrease of around 1% from 2019/20. In addition, a further 6,300 people were supported during a short stay in a care home, such as for respite or for reablement during this time. This is a decrease of around 36% from 2019/20.
  • In 2020/21, an estimated 130,000 people had an active community alarm and/or a telecare service. This is a 1.8% decrease in provision from the previous year.

Effects of COVID-19

The measures put in place to respond to COVID-19 pandemic will have affected the services that the HSCPs were able to provide over the period of the pandemic. Differences in data from previous years are likely to be affected by ability of HSCPs to provide social care services while dealing with the impact of the pandemic.


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 are provided by health and social care partnerships in Scotland for people that are fully or partially funded by the Local Authority. 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. 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 estimation are provided in the dashboards.

In order to develop these statistics and due to the changes in the collection and processing, the figures in this release are classified as ‘Experimental Statistics’. Further information on the data collection is available on the PHS website.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email 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: 21 March 2024
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