The Scottish National Party (SNP) will establish a National Care Service and introduce a National Wage for care staff if it is re-elected as the next Scottish Government, Nicola Sturgeon has pledged.
Launching the party’s election manifesto, the First Minister promised to take forward the recommendations of the independent Feeley review and establish a National Care Service in the next parliamentary term.
The National Care Service will oversee the delivery of care, improve standards, ensure enhanced pay and conditions for workers and provide better support for unpaid carers.
The Feeley review recommends that the National Care Service should manage local commissioning and procurement of social care.
However, in SNP’s manifesto, Sturgeon said the arrival of the service “does not mean all care homes be owned or run by the Scottish Government, but it does mean that we will improve standards, training and pay across the board, and that there will be increased accountability for the provision of social care”.
The National Care Service will be funded by a 25% increase in public investment, delivering over £800 million of increased support for social care.
The SNP leader has also promised to introduce a National Wage for care staff and enter into national pay bargaining for the sector, based on “fair work principles” for the first time.
And her party will scrap charges for non-residential care, so that social care services are aligned with health care services and provided on a universal basis, free at the point of use.
Visiting a pharmacy earlier this month, Sturgeon said: “Fundamentally, if for someone’s care they require the care services of things like meals on wheels, community wardens, lunch clubs, supported living assistance or community alarms and laundry – then they should not be charged for them.”