Report ‘Underlines Success’ Of Free Personal Care

The Scottish Parliament Health Committee’s recent Care Inquiry Report underlines the success of the free personal and nursing care policy, Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald has said. Mr Macdonald’s comments came as the Executive officially responded to the Health Committee report examining the implementation of the policy and how it is operating across Scotland. Mr Macdonald said: “As I said when the report was published, I welcome its recognition that our Free Personal and Nursing Care policy is a success which has benefited nearly 50,000 older people in Scotland, allowing many more older people to be cared for at home.

“We remain fully committed to the policy and will continue to work with local authorities to ensure that older people receive services in line with their needs.

“Not surprisingly, however, there have been some teething problems in the implementation of this policy which need to be sorted out. The Committee’s report helpfully identifies various issues which need to be resolved, and the Executive’s response sets out what we intend to do about them.

“Likewise, in relation to the Care Commission and Direct Payments, I welcome the Committee’s conclusion that, overall, these policies are achieving their intended purpose.

“As with Free Personal Care, there are various issues where further work is needed in one way or another, and those are discussed in our response to the Committee’s detailed recommendations. “We are currently reviewing the implementation and operation of free personal and nursing care. This review will be completed next year and will address issues of both implementation and funding.”

In 2002, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities made a funding bid for free personal and nursing care which the Executive met in full. In 2004, COSLA said that the policy was fully funded and it would not be bidding for additional funds. In 2005, the Executive provided local authorities with £153 million, specifically to cover the extra costs of providing free personal care for everyone over 65, which was more than the Care Development Group calculated would be required.

This provision has increased to £162m for 2006-07 and will increase further to £169m for 2007-08. There have been no further funding bids from COSLA since 2002.

In total, the Executive has provided for local authority expenditure of £1.7 billion on Community Care in 2006-07, an increase of over 15 per cent since 2003-04. Local authorities also receive transfer payments from Health Boards of around £240 million per year for Community Care.