THE SNP have urged MSPs to back the creation of a National Care Service as it reaches its first hurdle at Holyrood.

On Thursday, MSPs will vote on the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1, which the SNP have called the “most ambitious public service reform since creation of NHS”.

If passed, the bill would allow the Scottish Government to transfer the responsibility for social care from local authorities to a new national service.

It aims to improve the quality and consistency of care services across Scotland.

However, while the bill will lay the foundations for the creation of a National Care Service, the substantive detail will be co-designed with those receiving and providing care at a later date.

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Speaking ahead of the debate, SNP MSP Emma Harper – who also sits on Holyrood’s Health and Social Care Committee, which backed the principles of the reform last week – said: “The case for reforming social care in Scotland is widely recognised, and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring high-quality care is available to everyone who needs it, when they need it.

“Through the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill, the SNP Government is undertaking one of the most ambitious reforms of public services since the creation of our NHS, investing in social care with the goal of creating a service of the same esteem as our NHS.

“This takes us one step closer to improving the quality, fairness and consistency of social care provision across Scotland, and I sincerely hope that opposition parties will desist from political game-playing and support this important reform.

“The Scottish Government is taking immediate action to improve social care now, investing £2 billion in social care and integration and £230 million for a pay uplift to a minimum of £12 for all social care workers, but there is more to do.

The National: Emma Harper MSP urged colleagues to back the creation of a National Care ServiceEmma Harper MSP urged colleagues to back the creation of a National Care Service

“I urge all MSPs to look beyond party politics and play their part in creating Scotland’s National Care Service so that we can ensure consistent, high-quality care is available to those who need it.”

The bill has so far faced criticism from some care providers and unions, who say it lacks detail on how the service will function.

While the Health Committee supported the general principles of the bill, MSPs also expressed concern about the specifics.

Their report said: “The committee is concerned that the Scottish Government has so far been unable to articulate and communicate a model of how the proposed National Care Service would operate.

“We understand that the Scottish Government intends to share this information prior to the stage one debate and look forward to receiving it.”