National Care Service can be fitting legacy for ‘trauma of Covid’ – Nicola Sturgeon

Establishing a National Care Service can be one of Holyrood’s “biggest ever achievements”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Announcing the Programme for Government, Scotland’s First Minister confirmed plans to create a national social care system that would be a “fitting legacy from the trauma of Covid”.

Ms Sturgeon (pictured) told MSPs the National Care Service would be up and running by the end of the current parliament in 2026.

She said: “The establishment of the National Care Service will spark much debate and it is vital that we get it right.

“But done well, as we intend, a National Care Service will be one of the biggest ever achievements of this Parliament – and, just like the NHS in the wake of the Second World War, it will be a fitting legacy from the trauma of Covid.”

Ms Sturgeon suggested the Bill to create a National Care Service would see “the most significant public service reform since the creation of the National Health Service”.

She added: “Alongside reform, there will also be investment.

“I can confirm that we will increase funding for social care by at least £800 million – 25% – over the lifetime of the Parliament.

“We will also remove charges for non-residential care.

“And we will introduce Anne’s Law, giving nominated relatives or friends the same access rights to care homes as staff.”

On wider healthcare plans, the First Minister reiterated proposals to increase NHS capacity by 10% for inpatient and day cases over the next year, with the aim of 20% over the next five years.

The previously announced recovery plan for the health service would also see the budget rise by £2.5 billion by 2026-27, Ms Sturgeon said.

She also insisted the Government would address Scotland’s drugs death crisis “with urgency and a deep sense of responsibility” and confirmed £250 million for treatment and rehabilitation across the country.

Ms Sturgeon added: “This year, our focus will be on ensuring access to same day treatment and a wider range of treatment options.

“We will also provide guaranteed funding for grassroots organisations providing essential community support.”

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