Scottish government figures published this week revealed a significant rise in the number of self-funding care home residents receiving free personal and nursing care.
The Scottish government said the number of self-funders in care homes who benefited from the £145-a-week personal care payment had risen by 15% from 2003-4 – the first full year of the policy – to 2007-8. Self-funders must meet all their hotel costs in care homes but prior to July 2002 were also charged for personal care.
The number of self-funders who also received free nursing care – an extra £65-a-week payment – had risen by 17% in the same period. Overall two-thirds of self-funders – 6,160 people – received both payments last year.
This rise was reflected in council spending on free personal and nursing care in care homes, which rose from £83m in 2003-4 to £97m in 2006-7.
The figures also revealed a 28% jump, to 42,000, in the number of people receiving free personal care at home from 2003-4 to 2007-8.
A government-commissioned review into Scotland’s free personal care policy published in April concluded that the system needed an extra £40m boost to cover a shortfall in funding.