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Patients will still get free NHS care

NO patients will suffer financial loss as a result of implementing the recommendations contained in a review of long-term care, according to Health Secretary Alex Neil.

Mr Neil stressed that there was "absolutely no intention" to charge people for primary health care needs while patient safety and quality of care will remain the Scottish Government's "over-riding concerns".

The Health Secretary was making a statement to Holyrood on the future of care services following the publication of a review into the long-term care of chronically-ill people by Ian Anderson, a past president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Mr Neil ordered a review of the system last June after a 27 percent fall in the number of people receiving help was reported.

Concern was raised that the system was not being applied properly and that people may have had to pay for services they should have had free of charge.

Continuing care is a fully-funded package arranged by the health service where someone has been assessed as having unpredictable and very high level clinical care needs.

The review said the system should be completely revised and re-branded as "hospital-based complex clinical care".

Mr Neil told MSPs that the Scottish Government accepted Mr Anderson's recommendations to overhaul the system.

"Patients being treated as part of the proposed continuing care programme will only remain in hospital for as long as that is clinically necessary," Mr Neil said.

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