RCN Scotland has expressed ‘serious concerns’ about the Scottish government’s National Care Service Bill. In a letter on the 3rd April to Maree Todd MSP, the new Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, RCN Scotland has requested an urgent meeting to discuss the fundamental lack of detail around how the National Care Service will operate in practice.
In the letter, RCN Scotland says that the Bill as it currently stands does not make clear how improvements in the quality and consistency of social care and health services will be achieved.
With more than 1,300 fewer registered nurses in care homes for adults since 2014, 60% of care services reporting vacancies and over 1,700 community nursing posts unfilled, improving services cannot be achieved without increasing investment, tackling the workforce crisis and recognising the increasing need to deliver complex clinical care within community and care home settings, RCN Scotland says.
Eileen Mckenna, RCN Associate Director Nursing, Policy & Professional Practice, 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.”