The Scottish executive has launched a consultation on proposals
for long term care of older people, which is set to cast doubt on
the scope of free personal care eventually introduced.
Malcolm Chisholm, deputy minister for community care, launched
‘Better Care’, described as a “pre-legislative consultation on a
range of proposals to develop long-term care”. The range of the
proposals appears to cut across the remit of the care development
group created in February 2001 to produce proposals on how free
personal care would be introduced. Yet the current consultation
appears to assume a narrow definition of care at best and rule out
free care at worst.
Among the proposals to be considered are local authority loans
to enable more people to avoid selling their homes, which is a
highly emotive reason for introducing free care. Also included are:
direct payments for care services; choice of care home by topping
up the local authority contribution; cross-border placement
restrictions to be removed across the UK, and consistency of
charging for non-residential services.
Chisholm said that the work of the care development group,
expected to report in July, would continue separately. Of the
Better Care proposals he said: “Care must be tailored to the needs
of the individual, not to the services themselves. The proposals
set out how we are offering just that.”