Alzheimer Scotland welcomes this landmark review which endorses the policy of free personal care for older people.

Jim Jackson, Chief Executive, Alzheimer Scotland, said: "There is no cure for dementia, but the provision of personal care is as necessary for the health and well being of people with this devastating illness as medical treatment is for cancer patients. Dementia is a progressive illness which eventually means that the individual becomes incapable of looking after themselves. It is a matter of principle that they should be afforded equity within our health and social care system.

We are delighted that the main concern we raised with the Review Group has been clarified. Many councils thought they could ration free personal care to those deemed to be at highest risk. This left thousands of carers at home struggling to provide care 24 hour care themselves with little or no support from services, leading in some cases to early admission to a care home. It came as a shock to many carers, who were hit again by rationing and found they were having to pay care home fees until the council said they had funds available. The Review confirms the Government's intention that free personal care is an entitlement for all older people on the basis of assessed need, not at the Council's discretion. This will be a great relief to carers who have been living with uncertainty for a long time. However, we continue to have concerns about waiting times, while the report says that these must be clearly stated, currently it is not unusual for people to have to wait for services for two to three months in some areas and this is totally unacceptable. Services must be provided as close to the point of assessed need as possible.

Funding has been a thorny issue and we support the call for government to provide additional resources to meet the shortfall over the coming 5 years and for local councils to award proper priority to care for people with dementia. It is imperative that Councils, the NHS and government, in partnership, respond positively and immediately to the Sutherland recommendations."

Alzheimer Scotland

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