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Now is the time to focus on improving Health & Social Care, not restructuring services for a National Care Service 

15 Nov 2022

The Royal College of Nursing Scotland has told Holyrood’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee that now is not the right time to proceed with plans to create a National Care Service. 

Scottish Parliament

Giving evidence on the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill, RCN Scotland Director Colin Poolman raised concerns about the lack of detail within the legislation and told MSPs that the Scottish Government must focus on dealing with the crisis that is engulfing Scotland’s health and care services, rather than embarking on an expensive and disruptive structural shake-up.

RCN Scotland agrees that the way Scotland's social care system works is unsustainable and needs to improve. But the quality and consistency of services will not improve without the Scottish Government first increasing investment in services, tackling the workforce crisis across health and social care and recognising the increasing need to deliver complex clinical care within community and care home settings.

Commenting on the Bill, Mr Poolman said:

“The intention behind the legislation is good, but the last thing those trying to deliver services need is disruptive structural overhaul. The Scottish Government is facing a crisis across health and social care. Inability to discharge in a timely way is preventing the effective flow of patients through hospitals and a lack of preventative support in our communities is resulting in more people needing to be admitted in the first place.

“The interdependencies between the health and social care systems must be recognised. The current critical situation across Scotland’s hospitals will not be solved until the social care and community health sectors have the right numbers of staff, with the right skills, to support a population with increasing clinical need to live at home or in a homely setting. Achieving this must be an urgent government priority and we are concerned that a focus on this huge structural overhaul is diverting attention and resources away from where they need to be.

“The success of social care reform is entirely dependent on having the right workforce in place and this must reflect increasing clinical need in Scotland’s communities and recognise that nurses are in a unique position to deliver the required level of clinical care.

“Urgent action is also needed to better value the workforce and this comes down to fair pay, terms and conditions and sufficient funding to enable providers to invest in their staff with better access to training and development and clear career pathways.” 

Page last updated - 15/04/2023