Scots pensioners missing out on free personal care

Older care

​Councils not doing enough to ensure older people get access to care, new data reveals 

24th April 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Thousands of older people are missing out on free personal care payments because of delays in assessing and arranging care.

Freedom of Information data supplied by councils to Age Scotland found around four thousand older people are waiting longer than six weeks for a financial assessment.

Some were waiting several months and in one case someone waited almost two years for care to be arranged following their assessment.

The charity discovered most councils conduct assessments within an average of 2½ weeks, but the average worst case scenario was 5 months and 2 weeks – and in one instance one client waited over 18 months.

Age Scotland's chief executive Keith Robson said: "These are deeply concerning figures showing thousands of older people facing delays in the care provision they need being put in place.

"It also means payments for free personal care they are entitled to not being received.

“This confirms the experiences of a number of older people and their families who have been in touch with Age Scotland's Helpline to tell us their experiences of delays in the system.

"As we look to local authority elections next month Age Scotland has contacted council candidates across Scotland to ask them to ensure providing high quality health and social care services is made an urgent priority by new administrations. 

“Free personal care has been one of the landmark policy initiatives in Scotland following devolution, and that is why we are calling on all levels of government to ensure the system works as it was intended.”

The charity, which is highlighting pressures on health and social care in its manifesto for the local authority elections, also released figures which show that most Scots don't believe  enough is invested in health and social care, or that public services will be able to provide their care needs in the future.

Polling conducted for the charity by YouGov found that 73% of people do not believe society values or invests enough in social care. It also found that only 17% believed that public services will be able to look after their care needs when they are older. 

Robson added: "Our research has also found that most Scots do not believe that as a society we invest enough in health and social care, or are confident public services will provide for their care needs in later life.

“This shows the levels of concern which exist around current provision of care services, and why as a society we must all work to ensure our health and social care system has the support and investment it needs.

“We want everyone in Scotland to be confident they will receive high quality care when they need it in later life, and that is what we must work to achieve."