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Nation Care Service (Scotland) Bill

Overview —

A briefing for the Stage 1 reading of the Bill in the Scottish Parliament

Credits—

Common Weal Care Reform Group

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The purpose of this briefing is to highlight the main failings/omissions in the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill (NCS Bill) before the Stage 1 debate in the Scottish Parliament and to indicate the changes we believe must be made.

The NCS Bill was introduced in 2022. After being met with overwhelming concerns from stakeholders the Scottish Government agreed to pause it before the Stage 1 reading to allow further consultation. During that pause it reached an agreement in principle with COSLA on the need for significant alterations. However the Scottish Government has now decided to proceed with the Bill as originally drafted. We believe this is without precedent. The Scottish Parliament and its committees has therefore been asked to address these failures at Stage 2 rather than Stage 1 as should be the case. The most sensible option of scrapping the Bill altogether and starting again has been rejected. Whether it is even possible or not for the scale of revision required to create a final piece of legislation which is fit for purpose is possible via the proposed legislative process is beyond our expertise. It is not clear to us that it is even possible to make this legislation fit for purpose given the legislative approach taken by the Scottish Government.

In this briefing, we outline the changes that must be made to the NCS Bill to ensure that it creates a National Care Service worthy of the name. One that is public owned, free at the point of care, not-for-profit, and locally controlled.

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