About this release

This publication by Public Health Scotland (PHS) presents information on the Demand for Care at Home Services. This includes the total number of individuals waiting for an assessment for social care services, the number of people waiting for a package of care at home and the number of hours of care that are being waited for. This data collection, which began in August 2021, has been under development. PHS continues to work in collaboration with our partners on the consistency of the recording of the information across Health and Social Care Partnerships.

Main points

  • The number of people estimated to be waiting on a social care assessment to enable them to live independently at home or in the community was just over 6,250 on 8 January 2024.
  • The estimated number of people assessed and waiting for a care at home package was just under 3,700 on 8 January 2024.
Image caption Number of people waiting for a social care assessment or assessed people waiting for a care at home package in Scotland (estimated)

Please note due to the data collection being paused annually over the festive period there are no data points in the following weeks; 25 December 2023 or 1 January 2024.


Local Authorities provide social care services to enable people to live independently and at home or in a homely setting in their community. This includes people who are frail, have long term conditions or disabilities.

Care at Home, also called home care, home help or home support, is care tailored to the needs of an individual that is provided in a person’s own home. Packages of care can include support with personal care but also support with other tasks around the house (for example cleaning or meal preparation).

Care at Home services are planned and delivered by Health and Social Care Partnerships, and are delivered through Local Authority in-house teams, independent providers and the Third Sector. Each Partnership plans its services based on the needs of the local population and on the existing support services available in the Local Authority, such as housing services. Therefore, the services that come under the heading of Care at Home varies across the country.

Health and Social Care partnerships provide PHS with a weekly snapshot of the current demand for Care at Home services. The data includes information on the number of people requiring a social care assessment (excluding those waiting for specialist assessments) or waiting on the care at home service. Comparison between Partnerships is not advised as this data is under development and the services can vary in each area. Details of known issues are available in the Data Quality tab of the Care at Home Dashboard.

In 2023, PHS established a short life working group with our partners to improve the consistency of the recording of information. This has now concluded, and the clarified definitions came into place on 15 January 2024. This will impact the publication in February 2024 and more information will be provided in that publication.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 27 February 2024. Note the title of this publication will updated to 'People requiring a social care assessment and Care at Home services'.

General enquiries

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

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

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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