A consultation has been launched to seek the public’s views ahead of the creation of a National Care Service, which will ensure everyone who needs it can expect the same standards of care, wherever they live in Scotland.

The National Care Service will deliver person-centred care that supports people in a way that suits their needs, providing real benefits for those who are being cared for and the people who care for them. It will introduce ethical commissioning, based on fair work principles, for the benefit of everyone involved.

The consultation sets out some of the options for delivering social care in a way which changes the system from one that supports people to survive to one that empowers them to thrive. It recognises that this will involve significant cultural and system change that will need to be supported by new laws, and new ways of working.

In order to deliver these recommendations there will continue to be strong local accountability.  The consultation proposes Community Health and Social Care Boards to strengthen the voice of the local population, with people with lived experience and local elected members sitting alongside professionals.

Consulting on the proposals was one of the commitments for the first 100 days of this government. Implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care, and the establishment of a National Care Service, will be one of the most significant tasks of the current parliament.

At a minimum the new National Care Service will cover adult social care services. However, the consultation document also recognises that if we want to build a comprehensive community health and social care system, we should consider extending its scope to other groups such as children and young people, community justice, alcohol and drug services, and social work.

Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said:

“The pandemic has highlighted how important the work done by those in our Social Care sector is to people across Scotland. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our Scotland’s carers, both paid and unpaid, for their commitment and compassion in difficult circumstances.

“It was clear that out National Care service needed to improve in areas, so The Scottish Government commissioned the Independent Review of Adult Social Care during the pandemic.

“We have already made significant improvements, with reforms such as the integration of health and social care, and implementation of the Real Living Wage Policy for Adult Social Care workers and this year the Scottish Government pledged £64.5m to fully fund the pay increase. What is now being proposed is the biggest public sector reform for decades, since the creation of the National Health Service.”

“We are at the beginning of a journey to improve social care in Scotland. To get this right we will need your support. I want to hear from as many people and organisations as possible over the next couple of months, so we can build a better system together.”