The Scottish Government proposed the creation of a National Care Service (NCS) to provide universal, high-quality care to the people of Scotland. The NCS would be publicly funded and managed, with the aim of bringing together the different types of care currently provided by various agencies and organisations.

The plans include expanding access to care, improving pay and conditions for care workers and increasing support for unpaid carers.

The NCS is also intended to address issues such as the fragmentation of care services, variability in quality, and the lack of consistency in care provision. 

The National Care Service Bill was laid before the Scottish Parliament in June 2022 and passed Stage 1 at the end of February 2024. 

Shared Care Scotland, along with the other National Carer Organisations, published a briefing on the National Care Service ahead of the Stage 1 Debate. 

It is expected that significant amendments will be made to the NCS Bill in Stage 2 and Shared Care Scotland will continue to work to ensure that short breaks and respite remains at the forefront of discussions.  

Right to a break from caring

The NCS draft legislation also contains an amendment to the existing Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 to introduce a legal right to personalised short breaks support for unpaid carers.  

This right is intended to ensure that all carers will be able to take sufficient breaks from providing care.