RCN Scotland requests urgent National Care Service meeting with minister
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland has called for an urgent meeting on the National Care Service Bill with Maree Todd, the new Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport.
The nursing union has expressed “serious concerns” about the bill in a letter to Todd, citing “a fundamental lack of detail”. RCN Scotland added that as the bill currently stands it does not make clear how improvements in the quality and consistency of social care and health services will be achieved.
Eileen Mckenna, associate director of nursing, policy and professional practice at RCN Scotland, called on the Scottish Government to “focus on tackling the workforce crisis in social care and community health” rather than “pushing through expensive and disruptive structural overhaul”.
Since 2014 there are 1,300 fewer registered nurses in care homes for adults, with 60 per cent of care services reporting vacancies.
RCN Scotland has said, as well as tackling workforce issues, the focus should be on the increasing need to deliver complex clinical care within community and care home settings.
Mckenna said: “We welcome the Minister to her new role and have requested a meeting to discuss our serious concerns about the National Care Service Bill. We are calling for the Scottish Government to take time to engage with stakeholders - including staff working at all levels within the social care and community health sectors - and to develop detailed plans for reform prior to taking forward primary legislation.
“Rather than simply pushing through expensive and disruptive structural overhaul without a clear understanding of how to fix the current problems facing the sector, Ministers need to focus now on tackling the workforce crisis in social care and community health. Services must have the right numbers of staff, with the right skills, in the right place and that needs to start with increased investment and improving pay, terms and conditions in the sector.”
Social care minister Maree Todd said: “Our plan for a National Care Service will deliver consistency and quality of care. Health and Social Care Partnerships received an additional £528 million for 2022-23 to improve care and increase staff pay and we are working with those who access and provide care to design how the NCS will work.
“I look forward to meeting with the RCN in the near future.”