SNP ministers urged to halt 'billion-pound bureaucratic takeover of social care'

SNP ministers have been urged to halt their plans for a "billion-pound bureaucratic takeover of social care".

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton insisted money should instead be spent on improved pay and conditions for workers and on frontline public services.

It comes amid ongoing controversy over the Scottish Government’s plans to create a National Care Service, which ministers have described as the most ambitious reform of public services since the creation of the NHS.

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Former SNP health secretary Alex Neil previously branded the proposals “nonsensical”, while trade unions have said they are not fit for purpose.

The National Care Service plans have sparked controversy.
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Meanwhile, watchdogs have warned the Government is likely to have significantly understated the costs associated with the legislation.

Last month, social care minister Kevin Stewart told The Scotsman the plans are necessary because people are "hungry for change".

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He insisted the move would eradicate the "postcode lotteries" that currently exist across Scotland.

Mr Cole-Hamilton highlighted the breadth of opposition to the proposals, including from within local government and health bodies.

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His comments come as the Scottish Parliament prepares to hear more evidence this week from stakeholders.

The Edinburgh Western MSP said: “When there are record numbers of people waiting in hospital unable to leave and doctors warning that these logjams are disrupting medical care throughout the NHS, there can be no excuse for spending a billion pound on a bureaucratic reorganisation, rather than on patients and staff on the frontline.

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“Council leaders, legal experts, former health secretaries, trade unions, leading economists, SNP backbenchers, human rights watchdogs, health board bosses – that’s just small selection of those who have spoken out against this government’s plans for social care over the past few weeks.

“Without enormous pressure on public funds, it is unthinkable that the Scottish Government could plough ahead with measures that are at best, a billion-pound bureaucracy and at worst, a blank cheque.

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“Nicola Sturgeon must order her ministers to stop work on these plans and send the money to where it is needed the most. Scottish Liberal Democrats are determined to fight for patients and staff to come first, not Scottish Government ministers.”

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