Food preparation costs may be repaid

Dumfries and Galloway Council may refund nearly £500,000 in food preparation charges paid by people eligible for free personal care.

It follows the council’s decision at the end of last year to stop charging.

The issue has arisen due to confusion over whether councils can charge for food preparation under the free personal care policy. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities says 2004 guidance from the Scottish executive allows them to do so but older people’s voluntary organisations disagree.

Cosla is holding meetings with the executive over the issue and hopes it will provide clearer guidance to resolve the problem.

Alan McKeown, Cosla’s health and social care policy manager, said: Everyone is clear that councils can charge for aspects of free personal care – the issue is what bits they can and can’t charge for.”

Jim Jackson, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Scotland, called for guidance clarifying that food preparation was included under the free care legislation, but said reimbursement could affect future services.

It is estimated that 13 of Scotland’s 32 councils still charge for food preparation. Last year, Western Isles Council became the first to refund people who had been charged.


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