The truth about 'free care' in Scotland

Monday 4 February 2008

The truth about 'free care' in Scotland

Amid confusion about a funding crisis in Scotland's 'free care' system, Saga explains the Scottish system and the truth about 'free care' north of the border.

"Since it's inception in 2002, free personal care has meant that Scottish people requiring care can be better off than their English counterparts. But the truth is that Scotland does not have a 'free care' system it is often misunderstood by those who use it and has distorted other charges made by care providers."

The facts are:

  • There is no 'free' care in Scotland. If you need to stay in a care home you may be eligible for a contribution towards your personal care and your nursing care (currently 145 and 65 respectively).
  • The personal and nursing allowance have not increased since their inception.
  • You will still need to pay for your accommodation costs, which usually constitute the lions share of the total cost.
  • Because Scottish care homes are unable to charge for personal or nursing care we have seen the accommodation costs increase by 69% since 2002 when the new legislation was introduced, (this compares to an average increase across the UK of 48%. 1)
  • If you are receiving the personal care allowance in a Scottish care home then you will lose your attendance allowance.
  • A Scottish nursing home resident might therefore be only £44.50 per week better off than his English counterpart. However, this is significantly eroded by the annual increases in the accommodation.

Some other aspects of free personal care:

By 2005 50% of Scottish councils were operating an illegal waiting list as they were short of money for the scheme.

Last week, the Scottish audit office announced that there is a funding gap of 63 million and that no future cost estimates have been made since 2001.


for further press information please contact the saga press office on: 01303 771529.

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