Free Personal and Nursing Care (East Ayrshire)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 18th December 2019.

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Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

8. To ask the Scottish Government how many people in East Ayrshire receive free personal or nursing care; what the qualifying age groups are to receive this, and what the annual cost is. (S5O-03932)

Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

The latest figures that are available in free personal and nursing care Scotland statistics show that the number of people in receipt of free personal and nursing care in 2017-18 in East Ayrshire was 1,680 at a cost of £13.3 million. As Mr Coffey will know, as of April this year, personal care is free for all eligible adults.

Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

I thank the cabinet secretary for the positive impact that the service—which is unique to Scotland—is having on the most vulnerable people in my constituency. Are there any plans to evaluate formally the impacts and outcomes of the policy so that we can consider further improvement in years to come in this important area of care?

Photo of Jeane Freeman Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

That is an interesting question, for which I am grateful. There are no specific plans for such an evaluation, although I am very happy to give further thought to how we might do that, and to whether it would produce valuable information for us.

Willie Coffey will be aware that this year we are—as was indicated in the programme for government—undertaking a programme of work on reform of adult social care, which we will conclude in the coming year. I have recently had a useful meeting with Alzheimer Scotland to look at what more we might do in terms of personal care and healthcare for individuals who suffer from dementia. That work will allow us to consider what more we might do in those areas. In order to balance things, we might have to do much of it in a phased way, depending on the overall cost.

I am very open to looking at what more we might do. Work is already under way on providing personal care and healthcare support for adults who require that from us in order that they can live independently, with respect, and as close to home as possible.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

That concludes questions on health and sport. We will shortly move on to questions on communities and local government. While we do, I remind members that questions 2 and 4 are grouped together. Jamie Greene has lodged question 2 but is not here. He had better have a good explanation for that.

We will move from question 1 straight to question 4, and then on to question 3, because I know that members are sort of expecting that.