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Supporting our members who work in care homes

A National Care Service

for Scotland

National Care Service proposals

On 20 June 2022, the Scottish Government published draft legislation designed to implement a National Care Service. The Bill, alongside explanatory notes are published on the Scottish Parliament website. As anticipated, the legislation makes the Scottish Ministers responsible for organising the National Care Service and gives them the power transfer a wide range of health and social care functions to new care boards. The Bill will not nationalise services and therefore members working for public, private and third sector providers will continue to have the same employer.

The RCN will now be considering its response and expect that we and our members will be engaged in the legislative process. Now that the Bill has been drafted, subject to Parliamentary approval, the National Care Service is expected to come in to force by the end of the Parliamentary term, in 2026.

The legislation follows a Scottish Government consultation on proposals to create a National Care Service in Scotland. RCN Scotland hosted a series of consultation events last year to inform our response. Members came together from across the RCN Scotland membership, - including members working in acute services, social care, community services, scrutiny, and education.

Feedback from these events, alongside data gathered using the Sensemaker tool and input from the RCN Scotland Board formed the basis of our response to the Scottish Government consultation, which focuses on communicating our members’ priorities to the Scottish Government:

  • Nurses working in proposed services need proper clinical and professional governance
  • The nursing contribution to social care must be recognised
  • The impact of the proposals on community nursing must be properly considered and adequately resourced 
  • More detailed consideration is required about mental health models, pathways and services
  • The interface between the NHS and the National Care Service will be crucial and must be properly addressed
  • Nurses working in the independent sector must have pay, terms and conditions at least equivalent to their counterparts in the NHS.

Member briefing event

On 23 February 2022, RCN Scotland members attended a Q&A event to hear more about the Scottish Government’s National Care Service proposals and RCN Scotland’s response.

Watch the recording of the event featuring speakers Eileen McKenna, RCN Scotland Associate Director for Policy and Professional Practice and Norman Provan, RCN Scotland Associate Director for Employment Relations.

Policy Snapshots

A series of bite sized videos from RCN Scotland explaining elements of the development of a national care service for Scotland.

The member voice

Amy Dalrymple, Policy Manager for RCN Scotland talks about the wide ranging Scottish Government proposals for a National Care Service, it's potential impact on RCN members and how RCN Scotland is championing the member voice.

The vision for nursing

Jacqui Neil, Senior Nurse for RCN Scotland talks about the importance of embedding the 2030 vision for nursing in a new National Care Service.

Get involved

Although the official consultation is complete, RCN Scotland continues to prioritise and influence the shaping of a National Care Service.

To register interest in future consultation events, keep up to date with our work in this area and make your voice heard, e-mail

You can also make your voice heard anonymously by sharing your story on Sensemaker, tell us how work or study was for you yesterday or last week. We want to hear how you felt and what your experience meant to you both personally and professionally. We use these themes to inform our work and to influence decision makers on your behalf.

How we got here

The need for significant reform to the way in which adult social care is provided has been a topic of discussion for a number of years. The COVID-19 pandemic brought these issues in to sharp focus. In May 2019, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care announced an independent review to look at the long term future of adult social care in Scotland, including consideration of the creation of a national care service – the Feeley review.

RCN Scotland engaged with this review in 2020 by meeting the review group in November, and in December provided written evidence to the review.

Our submission focused on the following issues:

  • Commissioning needs to move away from a system focused on cost, to a system focused on outcomes
  • As the acuity of social care recipients is on the rise, registered nurses are increasingly vital to services
  • Whatever funding model and model of delivery of care is established needs to ensure staffing is safe, effective and able to provide high quality care
  • Nursing staff should receive the same pay, terms and conditions as their NHS counterparts.

Page last updated - 22/06/2022