Evaluation of free personal care to be scrutinised by the Health Committee

05/03/2007

The delivery of Scotland’s policy of free personal care for the elderly will be examined during a committee hearing tomorrow (Tuesday, 6 March).

The Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee, which undertook a high profile inquiry in 2006, will take evidence on the implementation, operation and impact of free personal care.

Paolo Vestri, Director of Hexagon Research and Consulting, will present the key findings of his evaluation report into the policy. Mr Vestri, whose report was commissioned by the Scottish Executive, will be quizzed by the committee.

Deputy Health Minister, Lewis Macdonald MSP, is expected to face tough questions on the evaluation of free personal care and the Executive’s proposals for developing the policy and improving its implementation and delivery.

Health Committee Deputy Convener, Janis Hughes MSP, said:

"The Health Committee’s Care Inquiry found that the policy of free personal care for the elderly had been a success, but there were some major problems with implementation that were threatening to undermine it if not addressed.

"The committee was assured by Ministers that the evaluation would examine in detail the implementation and operation of the policy, and that the issues raised by our committee in its report would feature in this work.

"We are keen to hear the findings of the evaluation and to question the Deputy Minister on his proposals for dealing with the implementation and operational issues raised by the Committee in our report.”

The hearing will take place in Committee Room 1 at 2 pm on Tuesday 6 March 2007.

Background

The Scottish Parliament's Health Committee Care Inquiry Report was published on 13 June 2006 .

On free personal care the committee recommended:

•  a thorough remodelling of the free personal care budget including the mechanism used to distribute it to local authorities;

•  removing the legal loophole that allows councils to maintain waiting lists;

•  a change to the law to make assistance with preparation of food clearly eligible for support;

•  a new minimum period for assessment or the back-dating of claims, to remove the incentive to local authorities to delay assessments.

As well as free personal care, the report also focused on the work of the Care Commission and the low take up of “direct payments”.

A copy of the evaluation can be found at:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/02/27143831/0

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