Report casts doubts over free personal care costs

    The Scottish executive has pledged to revisit the cost of
    providing free personal care in Scotland after research found that
    providing such care could cost the executive £130 million more
    than first envisaged, writes Clare
    Jerrom.

    New Asset  
    Rhona Brankin

    In the research, authors Margaret and Jim Cuthbert claimed they
    were “primarily concerned” with the estimations for
    care in the community that the introduction of free personal care
    in Scotland was based on.

    They went on to say that they were not content with the
    estimates for residential care and care provided in nursing homes,
    but that the figure for community-based personal care was based on
    a “misreading” of evidence.

    As a result the research concludes that the base cost of
    £70 million for providing personal care in the community
    should be increased by £18 million.

    Based on revised estimates, the research also suggests that
    original estimates could have been out by as much as £60
    million per year and recommends increasing the longer-term cost of
    care for older people by around £130 million by 2022.

    Deputy health minister Rhona Brankin insisted the Care
    Development Group developed costings at the start of the
    implementation of the policy based on all the evidence available to
    them.

    However she added: “We will examine the findings of this
    new report along with the new figures from the executive’s
    Care Development Group report in great detail and this will feed
    into new research that we have commissioned on the cost of the
    policy.”

    Brankin concluded that while the take-up and cost of free
    personal care would continue  to be monitored, the policy benefited
    thousands of older people and the executive “remained
    absolutely committed” to delivering free personal and nursing
    care to older people north of the border.

     

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