THE head of Alzheimer Scotland has criticised new social care funding plans for failing to "even mention" the significantly higher costs faced by those with advanced dementia.

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of the charity, said neither the Scottish Government or Westminster plans went far enough in resolving this "injustice".

Scotland's new National Care Service is out for consultation but proposes an increase in free personal and nursing care allowances from £280.60 per week to approximately £500 for those in nursing homes.

Mr Simmons says the policy as it stands will still leave those with advanced dementia facing significant costs because of the high level of health care they require.

Boris Johnson has announced a hike in National Insurance (NI) from April 2022 which will result in UK employees, employers and the self-employed paying 1.25p more in the pound from April 2022.

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It is expected to raise £12bn a year, which will go initially towards easing pressure on the NHS with a proportion allocated towards social care.

The Prime Minister said this would result in Scotland receiving £1.1 billon in additional spending.

The Herald:

Alzheimer Scotland argues that people with advanced dementia should not be forced to pay for health care that would be free if they had other terminal illnesses. The charity's Fair Dementia Care campaign is backed by The Herald.

He said: "In Scotland, we’re looking at five years to see the development of the new National Care Service, and three years for the rest of the UK before the full amount of new funding will find its way to social care.

"Notwithstanding the fact that people with dementia do not have time to wait for these improvements, there is also one fundamental and massive inequality that neither of these proposals go far enough to resolving - or even mentioning - and that is the fact that people with advanced dementia, as we highlighted in our 2019 Fair Dementia Care Report, are still going to have to pay substantial amounts for their care costs.

"Take a person living with advanced dementia. Their illness – a direct result of an untreatable brain disease – has progressed to the point where they may require assistance to walk, bathe, toilet and communicate.

"For this person, these are unequivocally health care needs. 

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"Why do we still feel that it is acceptable that we ask this person to pay for their care?

"We are talking about people who have worked their whole life, contributed through tax and National Insurance to help build the quality of life than many of us seek to enjoy.

"Why is dementia so different to other terminal conditions? It’s unequal, it’s unfair, and it needs to stop.

"If we have an NHS system of care which is free at the point of delivery, then let’s remove this unhelpful label of ‘social care’ and say what it really is - health care which happens to be delivered in a social care setting."

Nicola Sturgeon has also pledged to bring forward an additional £800million for social care in this parliament term.

Mr Simmons said the National Care Service had as yet failed to address the "eye-watering fees" that those who are deemed to be self-funding have to pay from their own income and savings.

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He said: "Self-funding care home residents can be charged fees of anything between £800 to £1800 per week, sometimes even more.

"For someone whose fees are £1300 per week, an increase in Free Personal and Nursing Care payments of £500 per week still leaves them to pay £800 per week.  That’s a staggering £41,000 per year.  

"We are not talking about wealthy people.

"Anyone with capital of over £28,750 - including in some cases the value of their home - is considered self-funding.

"We’re talking about people who have worked hard throughout their lives to buy their home and save for the future and yet they are still expected to pay for what should be free health care.

"How can we allow this to continue? How can we talk about fairness, equality and human rights? How can we talk about having an NHS with care which is free at the point of delivery, and then close our eyes to this injustice?"

A Scottish Government spokesman said: 

“We will invest £800 million and are committed to delivering a National Care Service by the end of this parliament in order to end the postcode lottery in the provision of care services in Scotland.

“The Independent Review of Adult Social Care found the current way of working has not fully delivered the improvements intended to be achieved by integration of health and social care. 

“Our ambition is to create a comprehensive community health and social care service that wraps around families and smooth transitions between different categories of care. 

“The consultation seeks views on including those services that are already currently covered by integration arrangements, although this varies in different parts of the country. 

“The consultation remains live and does not close until early November and we look forward to considering all feedback when the consultation closes later this year.”