Scottish National Care Service Bill published

A new bill sets out a blueprint for establishing a National Care Service for Scotland (NCS), with the aim of ensuring the best possible outcomes for people accessing care and ending the ‘postcode lottery’ of care.

The National Care Service Bill will make Scottish Ministers accountable for adult social care in Scotland – a change strongly supported by those responding to the recent consultation on the plans.

The Bill provides the foundation for the NCS and enables the fine detail of the new service to be co-designed with people who have direct experience of social care services. Plans have been published to explain how that collaboration will work.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf said: ‘This is the most ambitious reform of public services since the creation of the NHS. People have told us they want a National Care Service, accountable to Scottish Ministers, with services designed and delivered locally. That’s exactly what we are going to deliver.

‘The design of the NCS will have human rights embedded throughout, and the actual shape and detail of how the NCS works will be designed with those who have direct experience of accessing and providing social care.

‘We are going to end the postcode lottery of care in Scotland. Through the National Care Service we’re going to ensure everyone has access to consistently high-quality care and support so they can live a full life. This is our ambitious goal and while it will not be easy to achieve it is vital that we do.’

person wearing gold wedding band

Social Care Minister Kevin Stewart added: ‘One of the key benefits of a National Care Service will be to ensure our social care and social work workforce are valued, and that unpaid carers get the recognition they deserve.

‘When this Bill passes we will be able to have the new National Care Service established by the end of this parliament. In the interim we will continue to take steps to improve outcomes for people accessing care – working with key partners, including local government, and investing in the people who deliver community health and social care and support.’

The aims of the Bill are to:

  • Support people in their own homes or among family, friends and community wherever possible
  • Create a charter of rights and responsibilities for social care, with a robust complaints and redress process
  • Introduce rights to breaks for unpaid carers
  • Introduce visiting rights for residents living in adult care homes
  • Ensure fair employment practices and national pay bargaining for the social care workforce
  • Focus on prevention and early intervention
  • Create a new National Social Work Agency to promote training and development and set and monitor standards in social work

Theresa Shearer, CEO of one of Scotland’s largest social care charities, ENABLE Group, said: ‘ENABLE welcomes the publication of the National Care Service Bill, and we look forward to engaging closely with its passage through Parliament.

‘However, urgent action is essential now to support people out of hospital into community-based care, and immediate, bold steps are required to address the recruitment and retention challenge – which is particularly acute in certain areas – to build capacity in the social care workforce through enhanced pay and conditions.

‘Learning from demonstrably successful models can make human rights-driven, self-directed social care and support a reality for everyone across Scotland.’


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