Scottish government review backs creation of National Care Service
The Scottish government’s review of adult social care has recommended the creation of a statutory National Care Service on an equal footing with NHS Scotland to raise standards following the pandemic.
The recommendation is the key plank in the independent review, chaired by former Scotland director general of health and social care Derek Feeley (pictured), commissioned by Holyrood last September ahead of Scottish elections in May.
The review found accountability for social care support should move from local government to Scottish ministers, with the creation of a social care minister.
The National Care Service would work in close co-operation with the NHS to “establish a simplified set of outcome measures to measure progress in health and social care support”.
A chief executive would be appointed to the National Care Service, equivalent to the chief executive of the NHS and accountable to ministers.
The National Care Service would oversee local commissioning and procurement of social care and support by reformed Integration Joint Boards, with services procured from local authorities and third and independent sector providers.
Integration Joint Boards would manage GPs’ contractual arrangements, whether independent contractors or directly employed, to ensure integration of community care and support provision, to respect and support professional interdependencies, and to "remove the current confusion about where responsibility for primary care sits".
The review’s recommendations also include an end to charging for non-residential services so that social care can be free at the point of need for those receiving care in their own homes or community settings.
In addition, it calls for enhanced pay, conditions, training and support for the social care workforce.
“In her Programme for Government speech that launched this review, the First Minister said ‘This is a time to be bold’. The good news is that everyone we spoke to agrees with her,” said Feeley.
“What follows is a plan for how. It will take time. It has taken over 50 years for our current system to form. It will take investment. It will take partnership,” he added.
“But we have an opportunity to create a system of social care support where everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to flourish. If not now, when?”