RCPCH comments on national care service bill Scotland 

On 21 June 2022 the Scottish Government published the National Care Service Bill. The Bill as written allows Scottish Ministers to transfer social care responsibility from local authorities to a new, national service.

This could include adult and children’s services, as well as areas such as justice social work. Scottish Ministers will also be able to transfer healthcare functions from the NHS to the National Care Service.

The creation of a National Care Service was a recommendation of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care, with services for children and young people added to the proposals by the Scottish Government at last year’s consultation stage. 

In response to the publication of the Bill, Scotland Officer Dr Mairi Stark said: 

We have previously highlighted concerns about the inclusion of children's services in the National Care Service proposals. The original recommendation by the Independent Review wasn’t written with children in mind, so the appropriate consultation with children, young people and the sector wasn’t arranged. As such the Bill lacks the detail we would expect or hope to see to improve services for children. 

The Bill makes profound changes to care services in Scotland, so is important to get this right. We note that Government has now committed to a consultation period prior to any changes or service redesign – which is highly welcome. 

As part of this consultation, we would encourage the Scottish Government to consult children and young people, their families and carers, and the professionals involved in their care, to ensure their needs and rights are met.