An independent review is to consider the idea of a national care service

In a Programme for Government commitment announced by the First Minister, an independent review is to consider the idea of a national care service in Scotland and will aim to ensure consistently excellent support for people who use these services, as well as their carers and their families, is provided to all.

It will be chaired by Derek Feeley, former director general of Health and Social Care in the Scottish Government, and will report by January 2021.

Adult social care comprises a wide array of services and non-clinical support in a range of settings, involving care homes, care at home, day services, and community support for people with a range of needs.

Social care supports more than 200,000 people across Scotland – those with disabilities, older people, people with mental health problems, and those with drug and alcohol problems – and the review will take into account the experiences of those supported by, and who work, in social care, as well as looking at funding, governance, administration and delivery.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“This will be a wide ranging review of all aspects of a service which supports and involves so many people across Scotland. I am looking forward to recommendations that help ensure high standards of service and support into the future.

“This independent review will examine how adult social care can be most effectively reformed to deliver a national approach to care and support services – and this will include consideration of a national care service.

“It will also build upon our existing commitments to improving provision – long standing issues in adult social care have been thrown into sharp relief during the pandemic, and they demand our attention.

“We owe it to those who use and work in adult social care services to acknowledge these challenges, to learn from them, and to consider carefully how we can most effective plan for the future.”

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:

“I am absolutely delighted by this Programme for Government announcement and am truly excited to see what we can do to further improve upon the care we provide to all right here in Paisley.

“This commitment to people, health care, and equality it is a testament once again to this Government’s drive to put real issues at the top of the agenda and to make sure everyone has access to the very best this country has to offer.

“These past 6 months have been some of the most challenging in our lifetime and I take my hat off to all of the dedicated and hard working men and women across the country who have tirelessly kept going in very difficult circumstances. It’s vital that their voices are heard now too and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve with everyone’s voices all together in collaboration.”

The possible remit and structure of a potential national care service has not yet been set out but it could cover a range of organisational, funding and delivery options, which will be for the independent review to consider.

The review will also consider previous and ongoing work, including:

  • the programme for social care reform currently being taken forward by the Scottish Government and COSLA
  • progress with integration of health and social care in Scotland, including the outcomes of the recent review undertaken by the Scottish Government and COSLA
  • work undertaken by the Care Inspectorate to consider opportunities for improving adult social care provision
  • work undertaken by wider partners including the third sector to understand people’s experience of care and support improvement
  • scrutiny by Audit Scotland of social care and progress with integrating health and social care scrutiny by the Health and Sport Committee of the Scottish Parliament of reform of social care to date and progress with integrating health and social care