Opposition SMPs have called for Scotland’s National Care Service Bill to be paused, amid a raft of concerns from stakeholders and estimated costs as high as £1.3 billion.
In a debate opposition MP Craig Hoy (Con, South Scotland) said: “These are likely to be an underestimate.”
The debate heard SMPs raise concerns about “the wisdom of spending huge amounts of money on structural reorganisation rather than supporting hard-working staff”.
Accusing the Government of recklessness, Hoy said: “The SNP Government continues to sail towards the iceberg. Instead of taking concrete steps to properly fund social care at the local level, the SNP wants to embark on a massive restructuring, which will divert millions … into the pockets of civil servants and administrators.”
Among the risks highlighted by stakeholders are the impact on care providers in the independent and third sectors, continuity of care, financial risks, damage to local democratic accountability, creating a central belt-focused service, risks to workforce planning and development pay and conditions and the potential loss of cohesive responsibility for the care provided in complex cases.
Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care Kevin Stewart said: “The bill sets out our clear principles for the future of a national care service, and it is against those principles that the bill should be scrutinised.”