THE SNP Government’s National Care Service will mean people will be supported in their homes by loved ones in the community wherever possible – as the Health Secretary insisted the strategy will “end the postcode lottery” of social care.

The flagship plans to overhaul adult social care in Scotland also aim for a seamless transition between community and at-home services, a social care charter of rights and responsibilities being drawn up and visiting rights for residents living in adult care homes.

The strategy would place a focus on prevention and early intervention before people’s needs escalate to require more assistance. The proposals, published by the Scottish Government, would introduce rights to breaks for unpaid carers, ensure fair employment practices and national pay bargaining for the workforce and a new National Social Work Agency being created to promote training and monitor standards.

But Scottish Labour have said the Bill is a “power grab” which aims to take authority away from local councils.

On a visit to Aberdeen-based charity VSA, which supports people with a wide range of social care needs, Mr Yousaf said: “This is the most ambitious reform of public services since the creation of the NHS.

“People have told us they want a National Care Service, accountable to Scottish ministers, with services designed and delivered locally. That’s exactly what we’re going to deliver.

“The design of the NCS will have human rights embedded throughout, and the actual shape and detail of how the NCS works will be designed with those who have direct experience of accessing and providing social care.

“We are going to end the postcode lottery of care in Scotland.

“Through the National Care Service we’re going to ensure everyone has access to consistently high-quality care and support so they can live a full life.

“This is our ambitious goal and while it will not be easy to achieve it is vital that we do.”

The NCS plans have been met with criticism from the opposition who said the service will take vital responsibilities away from individual health boards who know their patients.

Scottish Labour health spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, said: “What this represents is nothing less than the biggest power grab in the history of Holyrood – one that threatens the very existence of local government.

“After years of steadfast opposition to a National Care Service, the SNP is now using the creation of such a service to disempower local government and centralise yet more power.”

She said the transfer of more than 100,000 staff away from local government is a “recipe for chaos and “uncertainty”.

Ms Baillie added: “Make no mistake – this is not a National Care Service. What the SNP and their friends in big business have devised is a national commissioning service which can be used as a fig leaf for centralising power.

“The people of Scotland, especially those who work or live in care, deserve so much better than this.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton claimed the proposal "takes the name of the National Health Service in vain".

He added: "It amounts to nothing more than an SNP takeover and a top-down reorganisation of care. Just as with the police, it will waste money and reduce services.

“It would be terrible for care services if authority was to be taken away from local councils and permanently handed to the same Scottish Government ministers who were responsible for sending untested and Covid-positive patients into care homes at the start of the pandemic.

"We can’t wait any longer for proper pay and careers, high quality care, guaranteed visiting rights for families or respite for unpaid carers. That can happen now, without waiting years for a top-down reorganisation or shackling these to an SNP takeover.”

Social care minister Kevin Stewart said the NCS will be established by the end of the parliamentary term once the bill has passed through the Scottish Parliament.