National Care Service Bill

June 21, 2022

A National Care Service Bill has been published by the Scottish Government to target improved outcomes for people accessing care and support. The National Care Service Bill will make Scottish Ministers accountable for adult social care in Scotland.

The Bill provides the foundation for the National Care Service (NCS), and enables the fine detail of the new service to be co-designed with people who have direct experience of social care services, the Scottish Government reports. The aims are to:

  • Support people in their own homes or among family, friends and community wherever possible, with seamless transitions between services.
  • 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, giving legal force to Anne’s Law.
  • Ensure fair employment practices and national pay bargaining for the social care workforce.
  • Focus on prevention and early intervention before people’s needs escalate.
  • Create a new National Social Work Agency to promote training and development, provide national leadership and set and monitor standards in social work.

In response to the publication of the National Care Service Bill, 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.'

Social Care Minister, Kevin Stewart, said, '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.'

John Booth, Chief Operating Officer of VSA Aberdeen, an Aberdeen-based social care charity, said, 'We welcome the announcement that the National Care Service Bill has been published. With this being the biggest reform since the creation of the NHS we will now take the time to properly review the bill to understand the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

'We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to co-design the NCS to ensure the voices and needs of the vulnerable people who rely on our vital services are heard.'

Theresa Shearer, Chief Executive 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.'

To read the National Care Service Bill in full, visit The Scottish Parliament website.

In other news, Healthwatch has updated its strategy to set out the difference the organisation wants to make by 2026, which includes how it will work in partnership with local Healthwatch.

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