National Care Service: statement of benefits

Sets out the benefits of the National Care Service that can be achieved, through legislation and co-design. Highlights where further evidence gathering and consideration may still be required to help inform future decisions around its design and delivery.

Embedding human rights, dignity and respect

The NCS will be governed by a set of principles that will clarify that social care and community health services are essential for the realisation of fundamental human rights and that the NCS has equality, non-discrimination and the dignity of the individual at its heart.

To deliver on this commitment, we will:

  • embed and mainstream human rights throughout the development of the NCS;
  • co-design community health and social care services with people with lived experience;
  • develop a NCS Charter of Rights and Responsibilities;
  • reform and strengthen complaints and redress processes to provide effective accountability and recourse;
  • develop and promote inclusive and accessible communications and independent advocacy to empower people who access support; and
  • enshrine additional specific rights and protections for people who access community health and social care support and their families and carers, in areas such as breaks from caring and care home visiting.
  • change how people access care and support in Scotland as part of the development of the NCS.
  • reform the current process of eligibility criteria. Prevention will be prioritised to make sure that people can move smoothly between different types of care and support as their needs change.

As noted below, some aspects may require further examination or expansion of additional services such as justice social work are included to ensure their relevance in different contexts, and that any public protection and safeguarding elements are recognised.

On care home visiting, the COVID-19 pandemic led to periods where care home residents were unable to receive visitors during lockdowns and outbreaks. Meaningful social contact was severely curtailed and this caused anguish for many residents, families and friends.

Families and friends play an essential role in the health and wellbeing of people who live in adult care homes, in terms of both practical and emotional support. For many residents, family members or friends also play a vital role in their care, complementing the support provided by care home staff.

The development of Anne's Law as part of the NCS Bill is considered to be rooted in human rights. Anne's Law will ensure that people who live in adult care homes will be able to have direct contact with people who are important to them in order to support their health and wellbeing, regardless of circumstances, whether there is a national or local lockdown due to a pandemic or other reasons.

Current Scottish Government guidance and the strengthened Health and Social Care Standards has promoted and encouraged care homes to increase opportunities for meaningful contact both in and away from the care home with the adoption of protective measures. The NCS Bill will go further and allow Scottish Ministers to exercise a new power to require care home service providers to comply with Directions issued by the Ministers. This will help ensure that the rights of residents and friends and family are restricted only where justified as necessary and in a way that is proportionate and non-discriminatory and in accordance with human rights law.



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