This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
More free home care for older people leaving hospital
More older people in Scotland will receive free home care when they leave hospital as a result of a new initiative confirmed today by the Scottish Executive.
The measures are part of the biggest ever investment in home care services in Scotland - up to £100 million more by 2003-4 - announced by Health Minister Susan Deacon in October 2000.
Speaking as guidance on the delivery of free home care was today sent to local authorities, Malcolm Chisholm, Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care said:
"We are committed to helping more older people to live independently and in their own homes for as long as possible. That is what older people themselves have told us they want. That means delivering the right services, in the right place, at the right time.
"That extra help at home is particularly important when a person is at their most vulnerable - such as when they return home from a spell in hospital. Our intention is to make home care free for up to 4 weeks for all older people leaving hospital, who have been assessed as needing that care.
"This measure will enable older people to receive care at a critical time when they return home after a spell in hospital. They may need more care at that time. We want them to concentrate on settling in, without worrying about the cost of their care. This exemption will include all social care services usually provided in a person's home - like help with washing and dressing or meals on wheels.
"Local authorities decide for themselves whether to charge for their home care services, and what charge to make. Some do. Some don't. We want to introduce greater consistency to the system. We have asked local authorities to introduce these new arrangements from 1 June.
"We hope a significant number of people will benefit from this significant part of our on-going improvement of the care of older people in Scotland."
1. The provision of free home care for a limited period to older people discharged from NHS in-patient care is one of a number of measures announced in the Executive's Statement on Older People on 5 October 2000, in response to the Royal Commission on Long Term Care. It is also a key recommendation of the Joint Future Group whose report- 'Community Care: A Joint Future' was published in December.
2. Local authorities have discretion to charge for home care. The vast majority do. It is in these areas where the benefit of the new arrangements will be felt.
3. The actual level of charge for home care services varies significantly from area to area. The hourly rate is about £6 to £7 ; but many areas have a maximum charge, the lowest of which is £11 per week and the highest £85. A few areas provide free home care, while others charge the full cost, subject to ability to pay.
News Release: SE0822/2001
28 Mar 2001