Humza Yousaf has told MSPs he is prepared to compromise on the National Care Service, as he seeks to secure the backing of local government and trade unions. 

The commitment came as Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross described the reform as a “white elephant.” He urged the First Minister to ditch the proposals entirely. 

“The man who couldn’t get the trains to run on time, forced police officers to breaking point, and left our NHS in crisis is now doing his best to throw social care into chaos as well,” Mr Ross said during Thursday's First Minister's Questions. 

READ MORE: Cost of consultants on SNP's flagship National Care Service tops £2m

The first vote on the reform has been repeatedly delayed and now won't happen until after summer. 

The new law aims to let the government set up ‘care boards’ directly accountable to Scottish Ministers who will take on functions and staff that are currently managed and run by local authorities and health boards.

The aim is to provide a standard level of care across the country and end the "postcode lottery".

Criticism of the Bill has been mounting in recent months, with MSPs, councils, unions, businesses and charities all calling for a pause. 

Last month, groups representing staff and users of the new service said the legislation needed “significantly more time.”

MSPs on Holyrood's finance committee have demanded a revised financial assessment by the government.

Ministers predicted last June that the NCS would cost between £644million and £1.26bn by 2026/27, but experts have wanted that fails to account for runaway inflation. 

Earlier this week it emerged that around £2m has already been spent on consultancy fees for the proposed new service.

Mr Ross told MSPs: “The First Minister has no idea what it is really going to cost. He is throwing public money away when frontline social care services are in desperate need of more funding.

“The SNP could be investing to improve these local services, instead they are creating a bureaucratic nightmare and want a blank cheque to do so.

“The very last thing our struggling care service needs is an administrative overhaul costing billions of pounds when it is being starved of cash from the frontline.

“So will Humza Yousaf do the right thing, stop wasting taxpayers’ money and scrap these plans altogether?”

READ MORE: National Care Service vote delayed again

Mr Yousaf insisted his Government is “absolutely committed to our plans for a national care service”, saying it will “ensure fair work is at the very heart of any future care service”.

On consultancy costs, he said it is important for the Scottish Government to bring in people with the “additional, technical, specialist expertise” that would help “ensure we make progress on the legislation itself”.

He said the delay to the legislation setting up the new system will allow ministers to speak to both local government and trade unions.

The First Minister said: “We are doing that in order to hopefully find a level of compromise in the national care service which will allow us to take that forward with hopefully an element of consensus.”

He added that “depending on what that compromise is”, it would determine what changes there are to the overall cost of the reforms.

Mr Yousaf said: “We will engage with trade unions, engage with local government, and hopefully we will reach a compromise position on the national care service and we will come back with a revised financial memorandum.”