Government facing fresh calls to axe National Care Service plans

The Bill for a new, centralised care service has been branded 'toxic and damaging' by opposition parties.

Government facing fresh calls to axe National Care Service plans after Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation iStock

Nicola Sturgeon’s successor should drop plans for a National Care Service (NCS), Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats have said.

The two parties said the Bill for a new, centralised care service should be axed altogether.

Recently, a number of unions, think tanks and charities have also called for a pause in the Bill, which would set up a framework for the NCS, saying more time is needed to design it.

Speaking ahead of Scottish Labour’s annual party conference in Edinburgh, the party’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie noted a number of Holyrood committees have voiced concern over the Bill.

Baillie said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s failed National Care Service Bill is a toxic and damaging piece of legislation that her successors must run a mile from.

“What is being offered is nothing more than a national centralisation service which will do nothing to support care receivers or the workforce.

“Workers don’t want it, care providers don’t want it, experts have raised the alarm, and parliamentary committee after committee have demanded that the Bill be paused.

Nicola Sturgeon's plans for national care service have faced widespread criticismSTV News

“Not a single penny of the estimated £1bn required to create the service will go to providing care.

“Instead of wasting money the SNP should plough funding into care packages and to social care pay.

“That would overnight transform people’s experience of social care.

“SNP leadership candidates need to put common sense before the pride of the outgoing First Minister.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton also issued his own call for the NCS to be scrapped.

He said: “After abandoning their plans to break up the UK, the first thing Nicola Sturgeon’s successor must do is scrap the billion-pound bureaucratic takeover by ministers of the social care sector. This plan is doomed to fail.

“The Government promised to eradicate delayed discharge eight years ago, but it is now worse than ever because they failed to tackle the shortages in social care.

“Like many Scots, Scottish Liberal Democrats have had enough of this conveyor belt of broken promises.

“The Government must listen to COSLA, trade unions, health board bosses, its own backbenchers and numerous other organisations when they say its proposals won’t work.”

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