PEOPLE with lived experience of social care services are being urged to have their say on plans for a National Care Service (NCS).

Ministers have pushed back the first parliamentary vote on the bill setting up the NCS until after the summer recess in a bid to work on a co-design approach with the public.

Under the plans, adult social care – and potentially other services – would be consolidated into a single body, run by regional care boards who are ultimately responsible to ministers.

The bill has come under intense scrutiny from opposition parties, trade unions, and local authorities – which are currently responsible for much of the care which would come under the NCS remit.

During a visit to the Allied Health Professionals in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, social care minister Maree Todd announced 11 public meetings will take place across Scotland over the summer.

Meetings will take place from Dumfries and Galloway to Shetland, kicking off in Stirling on June 20, and people can also join online in they are unable to attend in person.

Anyone who has worked in the sector, or anyone who relies on the service for themselves or a relative, is invited to contribute.

Todd said: “There are unique demands across the country, which is why we’re going to different areas, ensuring communities the length and breadth of Scotland are represented in designing a national care service tailored to local needs.

“Having listened to care providers, unions and the third sector during the bill scrutiny process, these meetings will allow anyone who uses care services, has a loved one that relies on care, or has worked in the sector to have their say.

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“This will help inform future stages of the bill as it progresses through the parliamentary process.

“There is general agreement that social care transformation will be of great benefit. This needs us all to have a shared understanding of what is working well and really focus on what’s needed to support people to thrive with the most suitable care for them.

“I would encourage everyone to be part of this conversation. To do this you can look to attend an event near you or join online and be part of what will be the biggest social reform of our lifetimes.”