Concerns raised over impact of National Care Service legislation

UNISON Scottish secretary Tracey Dalling urged ministers to reconsider the proposals.

Concerns raised over impact of National Care Service legislation iStock

One of the largest trade unions in the UK has assembled a “coalition of concern” over the Scottish Government’s National Care Service legislation.

The legislation would allow Scottish ministers to transfer social care responsibility from local authorities to a new, national service.

It could include adult and children’s services, as well as areas such as justice social work.

Ministers would also be able to transfer healthcare functions from the NHS to the National Care Service.

Public services union UNISON has moved to bring together a number of organisations who have concerns about the impact of the legislation.

They will come together in a coalition at a seminar being held in Glasgow city centre on Tuesday.

It includes COSLA, Social Work Scotland, Quarriers, the Coalition of Care Providers Scotland, Parkinson’s UK, and Commonweal.

The Scottish Government has said that delivering better outcomes for those who rely on care services is its goal in taking forward the National Care Service.

Speaking ahead of the event, UNISON Scottish secretary Tracey Dalling urged ministers to reconsider the proposals.

“Here we have a huge range of those involved saying the Scottish Government should think again about what they are doing,” said Dalling.

“Outside the ranks of the Scottish Government itself, it is very difficult to find enthusiasm for the legislation.

“We are hoping that today can be the start of a concerted effort across Scottish public life to persuade the Scottish Government to rethink their plans.”

Scottish Conservative social care spokesperson Craig Hoy described it as “astonishing” that the SNP was pushing ahead with the plans.

“Organisations are rightly lining up in their droves to condemn the SNP’s costly and misguided plans for a National Care Service,” said Hoy.

“At a time when our social care services are completely overwhelmed on the SNP’s watch, it is simply astonishing that they are continuing to plough ahead with this expensive power grab.

“The last thing our social care system and those reliant on it need is to see services being centralised and moved away from local communities.”

Hoy urged health secretary Humza Yousaf to listen to the concerns raised by the coalition.

“Humza Yousaf cannot continue to bury his head in the sand,” Hoy continued.

“He must listen to this powerful coalition which has come together to voice opposition to a National Care Service.

“The Scottish Conservatives share their concerns and urge SNP ministers to ditch their costly plan for a National Care Service and focus on giving local social care providers the resources they need as a matter of urgency.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said that a key objective for the new body will be “supporting and valuing” the unique workforce.

“We have heard repeatedly from people with direct experience of community health and social care, as well as key stakeholders, that the adult social care system needs to change in order to drive up standards to a consistent level across the country,” they said.

“Delivering better outcomes for the people who rely on care services is our goal in taking forward the National Care Service.

“Several of the organisations taking part in today’s seminar are also working with us to develop our plans and have fed in directly, either at our forum last week which was attended by around 600 people in-person or online, or as part of our co-design work.

“A key objective for the new body will be supporting and valuing our unique workforce.

“By rewarding and valuing the workforce fairly we deliver the best possible service for the people of our country, we will make the sector fit for the future and more attractive to people coming into the profession.”

They added: “It is vital that we come together to design the detail of a National Care Service in partnership with each other, prioritising the views of people who rely on social care and those who deliver it on the frontline.

“That is why we have established a robust and open co-design process to allow us to build on the high level principles set out in the Bill.”