The Bill, which is currently going through the Scottish Parliament, is due to be considered in March.
Health and social care charities are among the voices from civic Scotland who have expressed their “serious concern” in a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over the Scottish Government’s planned National Care Service, calling for the bill to be immediately paused.
The move, led by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and think-tank Common Weal, warns the Scottish Government it risks “creating a schism” with civic Scotland partners.
The news is the latest setback for the beleaguered National Care Service.
Last week, the Scottish Parliament’s Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee labelled the proposals “dangerous” and that the bill, as drafted, risked “undermining the role of the parliament”.
Now, a joint letter has been signed by charities, trade unions and political groups calling for the process to be halted.
Craig Dalzell, head of policy and research at Common Weal, said: "Common Weal is calling for a pause for a radical rethink of the Scottish Government's National Care Service because the Scottish Government's current reliance on Ministerial diktat, privatisation and shadowy lobbying will fail Scottish citizens.
“A National Care Service must be co-designed and led by the workers, stakeholders and service users who actually know how a proper care service should work."
The STUC, Scotland’s largest trade union body, has also launched its Fair Care for Scotland campaign today, uniting the main three social care unions – Unison, GMB and Unite – in calling for the Bill to be paused.
Late last year, all three unions appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee, citing concerns over cost, job security and terms and conditions under the new plans.
STUC general secretary, Roz Foyer, said: “Our trade union movement – and now civic, political and third-sector organisations from across Scotland – are united in one voice to ask the Scottish Government to pause this Bill.
“Our letter to the First Minister is clear: we share in the vision for a publicly owned social care system in Scotland. Despite repeated warnings from across the sector, the Scottish Government is blindly ploughing ahead with their proposals causing real concern for those who work in the sector. “
“There is a real risk these plans will create a schism between the Government and wider civic Scotland which the Scottish Parliament’s own committee has condemned as “dangerous”.
“Social care needs serious investment not further insecurity. We need the First Minister to intervene, pause this Bill and allow us to, collectively, get this right so we build a social care system that truly values social care staff and delivers quality care for service users.”
Minister for Social Care Kevin Stewart said: “People with direct experience of social care and community healthcare have repeatedly told us that the system needs to change to address standards and consistency across Scotland and we are including them; councils; the social care workforce and unions in co-designing how the National Care Service will work.
“I welcome that the letter signatories agree that a National Care Service will be an important and invaluable part of our health and care services, and I hope to continue to work with them through the co-design process to ensure the best care possible.
“The National Care Service will ensure our workforce is supported and rewarded, but we’re not waiting for the introduction of the National Care Service to bring in better conditions for workforce. We are already increasing pay, improving terms and conditions in the sector, and developing clear career pathways, all backed by Fair Work principles.”