An independent review has called for the creation of a National Care Service in Scotland to help drive improvements across the sector.
The Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland warns it is not possible to ‘achieve the potential of social care support in Scotland without a new delivery system’.
It argues the country needs a National Care Service to achieve ‘the consistency that people deserve’ and to ensure strategic integration with the National Health Service.
‘The National Care Service will bring together everyone with a role to play in planning and providing social care support to achieve a common purpose,’ the report states.
The report also states that the Scottish social care workforce needs to feel ‘engaged, valued and rewarded for the vitally important work that they do’.
It also highlights the need to support and ‘enable unpaid carers to continue to be a cornerstone of social care support’.
‘The contribution they make is invaluable. Their commitment and compassion is humbling. We need to provide them with a stronger voice and with the networks, support and respite they need to continue in their vital role,’ the report adds.
Age Scotland’s chief executive Brian Sloan said the report is an important piece of work and warned it ‘must not be kicked into the long grass’.
‘We know that the idea of a National Care Service has meant many things to many different people and while the review doesn’t advocate for national ownership of social care provision, the reforms it recommends are wide ranging and bold,’ said Mr Sloan.
‘The review rightly identifies that there are significant gaps between what should be happening in social care and what happens in reality. Ensuring that these are addressed would be a major first step.
‘Political leaders should grab this opportunity for reform with both hands, be bold and ensure a social care system that delivers for everyone who needs it,’ added Mr Sloan.
The interim leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Jackie Baillie added: ‘Scottish Labour has advocated for a National Care Service since 2011. It is welcome to see our proposal backed up by the Independent Review. It is clear that after 14 years in power it is time for the SNP Government to take responsibility for improving social care services.
‘Social care workers are at the heart of a caring and well-functioning care service and it’s time we started to value those who care for the ones we love. Scottish Labour are further calling for a £15-an-hour pay increase for care workers.
‘A National Care Service that puts people before profit is the only way forward. The Scottish Government must now listen and take steps to make this happen. We cannot allow our care service to be further weakened by inaction and slow responses to urgent need.’
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