The SNP has been accused of breaking a pre-election pledge to tackle a “dementia tax” by doubling support for self-funding care home residents.

The government promised to implement all the recommendations of a major review of social care, including a significant rise in free personal care and nursing contributions.

Derek Feeley’s report, which was published in February last year, recommends an almost doubling in the rate from around £280 to £500 per week.

While the SNP did not give a definite timescale for the increase, the party said radical changes would be introduced”imminently”.

Families say this year’s rise will amount to an extra £30 a week.

It comes as Alzheimer Scotland voiced concern that self-funders are facing fee rises of up to £500 a month with companies blaming Covid-related mitigations and cost-of-living rises.

"The present exclusion of terminal dementia patients from NHS funded treatment  and accommodation must be changed because it is illegal.

The Scottish Government said it had delivered an above inflation increase in free personal and nursing care rates for a second consecutive year delivering a cumulative 18.3% uplift, and, “will continue to go further going forward”.

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Lee Murphy, who chairs an advanced dementia support group in Glasgow, said the promised rise will come too late for the people the party said it was aiming to help.

He said: “”The SNP have absolutely betrayed the trust and destroyed the hopes of thousands dying self-funders and their families over this issue.

“They have now had two opportunities to implement the promised weekly increase of £220 per week or at least to implement a substantial part of this, and have chosen not to do so. 

“The next opportunity the SNP will have to reduce self-funders fee’s by increasing rates will be 2023-2024. 

“This means that most of the advanced dementia self-funders who were promised this help by the SNP in 2021, will have died without receiving any of the promised assistance.

“To claim that the increases in 2021 or 2022 are significant or help self-funders is the opposite of what is true. 

“After annual care home accommodation increases are deducted, the increases amount to about £10-£15 per week. “

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He added: “This betrayal is made worse by the fact that people like my father who are dying from a terminal illness shouldn’t have to pay a penny towards the cost of the accommodation they require.

"The present exclusion of terminal dementia patients from NHS funded treatment  and accommodation which is provided to all other categories of terminally ill patients must be changed because it is illegal.

"If taxes have to be increased for the NHS to meet its legal responsibilities to meet the healthcare needs of advanced dementia patients, which it currently is not meeting,then so be it

He said the Scottish Government was now  “far worse” on the issue than the Tories, which has said self-funders will pay no more than £200 per week for residential costs from October 2023.

The UK Government has agreed a new £86,000 lifetime cap on care costs but opponents say this will penalise those with fewer assets while people with more assets will gain more.

Means-tested payments from local councils will not count towards the £86,000 cap which has led to accusations it will be unfair on poorer people and those who live in areas where homes are worth less.

Residential charging and the bigger question of how social care will be funded amid increasing demand is still under consideration by the Scottish Government ahead of the introduction of a new National Care Service.

Cost pressures are prompting most care home providers to increase fees between 7 and 10 per cent according to estate agents Knight Frank. 

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Elaine Deehan’s mother Patricia McCombie has advanced dementia and is being cared home in a home run by Mackenzie Care in Dunoon. The 85-year-old’s fees are rising by 12.5%  to  £1400 a week.

She said she was “more than happy” with the care but said her mother’s savings were now close to being exhausted,

She said: “It’s quite a huge jump. They said it was necessary to invest significantly in the home; making dedicated visitor rooms, electronic thermometers and enhanced cleaning and testingbut I don’t see why I should be paying for that. 

HeraldScotland:

“The contributions are currently £193.50 for personal care and £87.10 for nursing care.

“I’m in the process of selling off her assets now. She has got a second property out in Spain that we are going to have to sell which was left in their will to me and my sister.

“My dad worked 41 years for Rolls Royce and did his best to look after us all and he would be horrified.”.

A spokeswoman for Barchester, which owns 200 homes across the UK, said their rises would be at the “lower end” of the scale but added: “This year we are facing extraordinary circumstances, with the increase in the National Living wage by 6.6% and the introduction of the new additional national insurance tax of 1.25% (both determined by Government) resulting in pay costs rising by 7.85%, in addition to food and energy costs having an impact (gas prices have increased by 21% and food is expected to have a 10% annual cost inflation).”

Jim Pearson, Director of Policy and Practice, Alzheimer Scotland said:“It is nothing short of a national scandal that people living in care homes may be facing increases in care home fees of hundreds of pounds per month. 

HeraldScotland:

“That is simply not acceptable and is why Alzheimer Scotland continues our Fair Dementia Care campaign to end the unfairness of people with advanced dementia paying for care for needs which are clearly health care.”

Kevin Stewart, Minister for Social Care, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to delivering the recommendations of the Independent review of Adult Social Care, including creating the National Care Service, in this parliament. 

“We have already delivered above inflation increase in the Free Personal and Nursing Care rates for a second consecutive year delivering a cumulative 18.3% uplift, and will continue to go further going forward.

“This policy will benefit all adults who are self-funders living in residential care and will help these individuals with the rising cost of care home placements.

“The National Care Service consultation contained questions relating to the residential charging regime and these responses will be considered fully as part of the next year’s uprating process.”

The Herald is supporting Alzheimer Scotland’s Fair Dementia Care campaign.