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Free Personal and Nursing Care for all in Scotland! (April 2019)

Scottish Government logo with blue and white saltire flag.

The much promised feasibility study into extending free personal care to under 65s has been published: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/09/6559

Following publication of the above, the First Minister has announced that “Scottish Government will start the work to fully implement Frank’s Law” (the campaign which began as a call for free personal care for under 65s who have dementia)

The Programme for Government confirms that the Scottish Government intend to make personal care free for all regardless of age:

‘To build on the principle of a service that is free at the point of need, we are taking steps to extend free personal care to all those under 65 who need it – a move that has become known as ‘Frank’s Law’.’

‘Scotland is rightly proud to have Free Personal Care for those aged over 65, ensuring that older people who require this support receive it. Following the last Programme for Government, we have conducted a feasibility study to examine the possible extension of Free Personal Care to people under the age of 65 who are assessed as needing it. We sought the views of stakeholders, not least Mrs Amanda Kopel of the Frank’s Law campaign, to examine potential benefits, unmet need, and the interaction with social security.   While there are challenges to be addressed, we will take the necessary steps to make it a right for Free Personal Care to be provided to all who need it, regardless of age. This will include ensuring that those diagnosed with a terminal illness receive the personal care they are assessed as requiring for free. We will now work with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and a range of stakeholders to shape implementation and to put in place the capacity that will be needed to meet the demand – while ensuring a sensitive interaction with the social security system’

As a member of Scotland Against the Care Tax, SDSS cautiously welcomes this news, noting that it is only personal care and not social care that will be covered, so although it can be seen as a step in the right direction it will also have the potential to create new levels of bureaucracy and, in terms of the big picture, it is hard to see how introducing new financial divisions between ‘personal’ and ‘social’ care fits with the genuinely outcomes focused approach that should be at the heart of SDS.  However, these concerns are noted in the feasibility study above and SDSS hope to have the opportunity to explore these issues further with relevant government officials as the policy moves forward.