New Welsh health and social services minister Brian Gibbons has
ditched the assembly’s policy of pressing for the unilateral
adoption of free personal care for older people in Wales.
The assembly’s policy came out of the coalition administration. But
with Labour now ruling alone Gibbons made clear the new
administration’s dislike of the policy.
Gibbons told an assembly debate: “We cannot ignore Scotland’s
experience, which suggests it would cost anything from £150m
to £180m to implement a similar scheme in Wales. I ask the
Liberal Democrats what their priority would be if they were to
spend that £180m.”
He suggested that free transport for older people, improved waiting
lists, and improving educational experience could all be priorities
above long-term care. His own priority was free domiciliary care,
“which is what 80 to 85 per cent of older people want”.
Gibbons, a GP, was appointed to replace Jane Hutt last month.