Concerns over National Care Service plans

CONCERNS have been raised over plans to introduce a national care service for Scotland by Inverclyde Council.

Issues around the Scottish Government’s proposal to centralise care services away from local authority areas were outlined in an official response to ministers which was agreed unanimously by councillors at a meeting on Thursday (28 October 2021).

The official response, being submitted as part of a formal consultation around a national care service, says that while some aspects of a nationwide approach to social care could be beneficial, many existing services and systems work well and could be adversely impacted if they are centralised.

The response raises key concerns over a loss of vital, local knowledge to help target and support the most vulnerable in society and whether a national care service would be properly funded with the sector already badly under-funded.

Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, said: “The focus around social care should really be on outcomes, not structures, to ensure the best quality of care for the people of Inverclyde and indeed across Scotland.

Councillor Stephen McCabe
Councillor Stephen McCabe

“It is councils, and partner agencies, which have that vital local knowledge and expertise to support the most vulnerable people in our communities and in hard to reach areas and ultimately effect change.

“Can that same level of care and attention to detail be guaranteed within a national care service set-up dealing with people right across the country?

“Social care services have been badly under-funded for many years and we, as a council, continually invest extra resources, often at the expense of other services, to maintain a good level of provision. 

“We have reservations about whether a national care service would be properly funded when there’s such a lack of investment in services as it stands. Surely money would be better spent on improving existing services and infrastructures than starting from scratch?

“This consultation raises more questions than answers and much more detail and debate is needed before any major decisions are made that could ultimately effect the level and quality of care for residents of Inverclyde and people throughout Scotland.”

The response highlights the ongoing improvements being made by Inverclyde Council, working alongside the health and social care partnership (HSCP), Integration Joint Board (IJB) and partner agencies, to local services and how that could be undermined by a new national service.

The Scottish Government’s consultation on plans to create a National Care Service in Scotland was launched on 9 August 2021 and will close on the 2 November 2021.

The council’s response is available in full at