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Delivering for Scotland #30: Free Personal Care

The SNP is committed to building a Scotland where our society looks after all its citizens. Under the SNP, Scotland has made great strides on this front.

Free personal care for older people is one of the landmark achievements of devolution. This was first ensured for over-65s in Scotland.

Personal care includes areas such as support with personal hygiene, issues with mobility, food preparation and support at mealtimes and assistance with dressing or getting in or out of bed. But the SNP government has since gone further, expanding free personal care to people of all ages who are assessed as requiring it – regardless of their age, condition, capital or income.

The expansion of free personal care beyond the over-65s came into force from April 2019, and was referred to as ‘Frank’s Law’ after the former Dundee United footballer Frank Kopel. Frank was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 59 and sadly died six years later in 2014.

We’ve made the necessary changes to the law, and issued clear guidance to local authorities, to clearly set out the expansion of free personal care. For the first time everyone under the aged of 65 who is assessed as requiring personal care will receive it for free.

– Jeane Freeman MSP, Scottish Government Health Secretary

Since then, people in Scotland can no longer be charged for personal care services they are assessed as requiring. The SNP Scottish Government worked with government analysts, local authorities and their joint body COSLA, Integration Joint Boards, care providers and third sector organisations on the implementation of the free personal care programme.

Free nursing care is similar and has been available to all who are assessed as requiring nursing care services, without charge. Since the SNP has been in Government, it has also been possible for more people requiring care to be cared for in their own homes.

In 2014, Scotland became the only UK nation to legislate for the integration of health & social care bodies. There are now 31 Health & Social Care Partnership areas in Scotland, managing  billions of pounds of resources, and the SNP has now committed to establishing a National Care Service to raise standards nationwide – in line with the recommendations of the independent Feeley Review of adult social care.

The SNP’s 2021-22 budget invests £883 million to invest in social care and integration. This includes funding for the uprating of free personal care, as well as the implementation of the Carers Act.

Attracting and retaining the right staff is key to delivering quality care. That’s why the £883m SNP Scottish Government investment for the next year also includes £34 million funding to enable local authorities to pay social care workers the Real Living Wage.

The SNP is determined to continue to improve provision of social care across Scotland. For an SNP Scottish Government, this will always be a top priority.

Legislation is now ensuring that all those who require personal care are able to access it free of charge, regardless of their age, condition or income. This change helps thousands of people across Scotland receive the support that they are entitled to without being impacted financially.

– Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland