National Care Service tops Scottish election care manifestos

The main Scottish parties have published their election manifestos ahead of Thursday’s parliamentary elections:

Establishing a national care service is core principle of several parties’ manifestos:

The Scottish National Party has pledged to begin transformation towards a national care service within one year to improve standards, increased accountability and enhanced pay and conditions. However, the SNP makes clear that this does not mean all care homes will be owned or run by the Scottish Government.   

Residents will have strengthened rights and nominated relatives or friends will receive the same access rights to care homes as staff, while following stringent infection control procedures

The SNP has also pledged to review the number, structure and regulation of health boards to remove unwarranted duplication of functions. There will also be a 25 per cent increase in investment in social care over the parliament, delivering over £800 million of increased support.

Also supporting a national care service is Scottish Labour. Its manifesto makes the following pledges:

  • widen funding eligibility criteria and remove all non-residential charges
  • Increase care worker pay to £12 an hour, rising to £15 an hour
  • Designate social care as a key growth sector

Opposing a national care service, the Scottish Lib Dems highlight the potential loss of local innovation and skills.

Its 2021 elections manifesto pledges the following actions:

  • national pay bargaining and outcomes-based funding
  • provider compliance with nationally-set work requirements   
  • free home care services   
  • essential caregiver status for care home relatives.

Scottish Conservatives call for:

  • national employment conditions for staff  
  • improved care for people with a terminal diagnosis, and those living with dementia.

On the national care service, the Conservatives voice concerns about centralisation, instead they call for local democratic accountability and avoidance of unnecessary structural reforms.  

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