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Scotland’s National Care Service delayed until 2028

Scotland’s National Care Service will not be implemented until 2028 at the earliest, MSPs have been told.

In a meeting of the Parliament, MSPs were told that resources are a major factor in the delay. Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport Maree Todd (SNP, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) told the Scottish Parliament that ambition for a National Care Service “had not dimmed”.

She explained: “Everybody is aware that we are in a different financial situation from the one that we were in when we introduced the idea of a national care service, and that we must work within our means. Slowing the pace of change means that the cost will be spread out over a number of years.”

During the debate, MSPs were told that legislation will be phased in over a total of 10 years, although some aspects of legislation – for example, Anne’s law – will be implemented once the bill is passed. “We will not be waiting years for everything to happen,” Todd said.

The debate also heard of revised cost forecasts for the service, ranging from £880 million to £2.192 billion, as well as plans for the national care board. She reassured Parliament: “if we can deliver better care—which we will do through the national care service—we will save money and bring money back into the public purse.”

When challenged about the impact of efficiency savings on smaller care homes, Todd reassured Parliament that closing smaller care homes was not part of the plans.

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