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National Care Service Bill published

By Eileen McMullan, SFHA Policy Lead.

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The National Care Service (Scotland Bill) was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 21.06.22. The bill sets out the principles for the National Care Service (NCS) and its aim is to ensure that everyone can consistently access community health, social care, and social work services, regardless of where they live in Scotland. Subject to parliamentary approval, there is provision for a power to transfer accountability for a range of services, including adult social care and social work services, to Scottish ministers from local government.

The proposals in the bill go beyond the recommendations in the Independent Review of Social Care but recognising that children’s and justice social work services were not addressed in the review, and it provides an opportunity for further consultation on the potential transfer of these services.

In addition, the bill gives Scottish ministers powers to:

  • establish (and dissolve) local and special care boards
  • make provision about the membership of care boards and what groups they are required to represent
  • establish a scheme and standards for sharing information, to facilitate a nationally-consistent electronic health and care record
  • include all community health and social care services
  • it also requires ministers to create a charter of rights and responsibilities for social care, with a robust complaints and redress process.

The Scottish Government has also stated its intention to:

  • focus on prevention and early intervention before people’s needs escalate
  • support people in their own homes, or among family, friends and community, wherever possible, with seamless transitions between services
  • promote fair employment practices for staff and national pay bargaining
  • create a new national social work agency to promote training and development, provide national leadership and set and monitor standards in social work
  • make clear the links to and/or duties of services not included in the NCS such as housing.

The bill creates a framework for future delivery of the NCS and much of the details will be developed over the next few years. The government plans to co-design this and will develop future regulations where necessary. SFHA will continue to engage with the Scottish Government to ensure that the contribution of housing is recognised in prevention and supporting people in their own homes.

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