Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Tuesday) voiced opposition to Scottish Government proposals for a National Care Service (NCS) following a debate in the Scottish Parliament.
Mr McArthur echoes concerns expressed by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), who dubbed the proposed National Care Service as an "attack on localism” that could “spell the end for anything other than central control in Scotland”.
It is expected that the NCS will be accountable to Scottish Ministers and would work parallel to the NHS. Local service delivery would be through new government-funded community health and social care boards, replacing integration joint boards that were introduced five years ago.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
"Scotland's social care sector certainly needs reform as we look to recovery from the pandemic and meet the needs of an ageing population.
"Unfortunately, all too often the ‘go to’ response for SNP Ministers when it comes to reform is to centralise. Rarely, if ever, is that the answer to the needs of local communities, particularly those in rural and island areas.
“Scotland's local authorities are right to condemn this as an "attack on localism" which undermines the value of local services and local decision-making.
“The Scottish Government is proposing to go even further that the recommendations of the Feeley Review. Rather than a power grab, Ministers should be setting national standards, entitlements for users and a step change in pay and conditions, reflecting the value of the work carried out by those in the sector."