Review of free personal care

28 Apr 2008 03:41 PM Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon today welcomed Lord Sutherland's independent review of Free Personal and Nursing Care.

The review was commissioned by the Scottish Government to look at the total levels and distribution of funding for the policy, and how to secure its long-term sustainability.

Lord Sutherland also stated in his review that the UK Government was wrong to remove Attendance Allowance resources from the Scottish budget following the introduction of Free Personal and Nursing Care.

Commenting on the report, Ms Sturgeon said:

"Lord Sutherland confirms that the policy of Free Personal and Nursing Care (FPNC) has both widespread support, and is delivering real benefits for tens of thousands of our most vulnerable older people.

"However the report clearly states that the UK Government should not have withdrawn the Attendance Allowance resources previously paid to residents in care homes - providing savings currently valued at over £30m a year - savings that should have been made available to benefit elderly people across Scotland.

"Lord Sutherland's report also addresses concerns that both the Scottish Government and local government have raised about the funding and clarity of the policy during its early years and the longer-term challenges we face from Scotland's changing demographics.

"Over the last year, we have been working closely with COSLA to improve the clarity of the policy and address various practical issues. We both agree that any additional funding for the policy must be linked to resolving those issues and improving outcomes for older people

"I am very grateful to Lord Sutherland and to the other members of his independent Group for this substantial and considered report. We are committed to securing FPNC policy for the long-term, and ensuring that it continues to deliver benefits to older people across Scotland.

"We will now consider the report in detail and in partnership with COSLA. I will update Parliament in due course on our response, and on the outcome of our discussions with local government."

During 2008, Scottish Ministers invited Lord Sutherland of Houndswood to undertake an independent funding review of Free Personal and Nursing Care. He was asked to look at:

* The total resources available to implement the policy
* The distribution of the total resources amongst local authorities
* The impact of the withdrawal of Attendance Allowance to pensioners in receipt of FPNC on the financial balance between the Scottish and UK Governments and
* The long-term sustainability of the policy

The membership of the independent Review Group was:

* Lord Sutherland of Houndswood, previously Chair of the Royal Commission on the Funding of Long-Term Care for Older People
* Anne Jarvie, CBE, former Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland
* Mary Marshall OBE, former Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling
* Professor David Bell, University of Stirling
* Jim Dickie, former Director of Social Work, North Lanarkshire Council and part President of the Association of Directors of Social Work
* Rory Mair, Chief Executive of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)

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