The importance of our social care services has never been clearer. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our nation’s carers for the commitment and compassion we have seen throughout the pandemic.
To ensure our social care system consistently delivers high quality services across Scotland, we will establish a National Care Service to oversee the delivery of care, improve standards, ensure enhanced pay and conditions for workers and provide better support for unpaid carers.
It does not mean all care homes will be owned or run by the Scottish Government, but it does mean that we will improve standards, training and pay across the board, and that there will be increased accountability for the provision of social care.
It will allow us to introduce a National Wage for Care staff and enter into national pay bargaining for the sector, based on fair work principles, for the first time.
As part of a rights-based approach to care, we will strengthen residents rights in adult residential settings. This will include delivering ‘Anne’s Law’ – giving nominated relatives or friends the same access rights to care homes as staff while following stringent infection control procedures, as called for by Care Home Relatives Scotland.
As we create the National Care Service, we will review the number, structure and regulation of health boards – and other related delivery services – to remove unwarranted duplication of functions and make best use of the public purse.
These changes can only be delivered with increased investment. We will therefore increase public investment in social care by 25% over the parliament, delivering over £800 million of increased support for social care.
We believe social care services, just like health care services, should be provided on a truly universal basis, free at the point of use. An SNP government will therefore abolish charges for non-residential care.