A CHARITY has warned of “significant challenges” ahead for free personal care as a result of an ageing population.
Age Scotland said new figures on the numbers of people who benefit from the policy demonstrated its importance but a widened eligibility and workforce issues as a result of Brexit could also have an impact in future.
Statistics show that thousands of people in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire benefited from free personal and nursing care in 2016/17.
This included people in care homes and others who were living in their own home.
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In the same year, councils spent £502million on the policy, which was introduced in Scotland in 2002.
Age Scotland chief executive Brian Sloan said: “These latest figures demonstrate just how important free personal and nursing care is.
“More than seven per cent of those aged over 65 rely on it to get the care they need, whether in their own home or in a care home.
“It has been a flagship policy ever since devolution and Scotland arguably has the best social care system in the United Kingdom but there are significant challenges for the policy ahead, due to our ageing population, as well as the widened eligibility criteria coming into force from next year.”
Mr Sloan said that, over the next decade, it is likely that more people in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire will require free personal and nursing care.
He has called on the Scottish Government to support local authorities in light of this, both in terms of financing and how the policy is implemented.
Mr Sloan added: “Recruitment and retention of social care staff remains a challenge for providers and it is unlikely that Brexit will make this any easier to resolve.”
Date: August 3, 2018
Source: The Gazette