A CAMPAIGNING councillor has raised concerns that a National Care Service (NCS) in Scotland could have a detrimental impact on autistic people.

Derek Bibby is calling for more support for those with the condition, as he fears the Covid pandemic and increased demand for mental health support has made it increasingly difficult for those seeking help.

The Labour politician believes a proposal by the Scottish Government to incorporate children’s services into the NCS has also raised concerns about how the need for support will be met on a local basis.

Councillor Bibby, who represents Johnstone North, Kilbarchan, Howwood and Lochwinnoch, told The Gazette: “Renfrewshire’s autism strategy needs to be revised and strengthened to take account of the issues raised by the pandemic.

“I also oppose the proposed inclusion by the Scottish Government of children’s services as part of the proposed NCS. There is widespread concern across many councils that the formation of a NCS will not be needs-led, but rather will be mired in organisational structures and procedures that will detrimentally affect services to children and adults alike.”

Mental Wellbeing Minister Kevin Stewart said a NCS would ensure everyone gets the high quality care to which they are entitled.

He added: “We remain committed to improving the lives of autistic people through the actions outlined in our Towards Transformation Plan.

“We understand that many autistic children and young people and their families and carers have faced added pressure during the pandemic and it has been an incredibly difficult time. That is why we established a £500,000 fund early in the pandemic to ensure local carer organisations could continue to provide advice and emotional support.”