The SNP government has been branded “worse than the Tories” for failing to set a lifetime cap on care home costs as part of plans for Scotland’s new National Care Service.

Families expressed anger that the draft bill had not set a maximum limit self-funders are expected to pay providers.

The UK government plans to introduce a cap of £86,000 on care costs from 2023 while those with less than £20,000 in assets will not have to pay anything for their care, which is up from £14,250.

Alzheimer Scotland said it welcomed the draft bill but said it had “stayed silent” on the inequality of people with advanced dementia having to pay for specialist nursing care  that would be free if they had any other terminal illness.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the plans would ensure that care of Scotland’s frail would no longer be a “postcode lottery”.

Responsibility for supporting the elderly and disabled will be taken away from councils and given to new care boards, which will be overseen by members of the Scottish cabinet.

READ MORE: Warning SNP ministers risk diverting £1.3bn of public funds from frontline services to set up new National Care Service

However, trade unions branded the plan to nationalise case as a “an all-out assault” on local democracy.

Lee Murphy, whose father has advanced dementia, said the family had already paid around £90,000 for his care.

He said: “The new National Care Service is of course nothing of the sort.

“Care will not be provided by a national institutions similar to NHS. Instead most care will still be provided by private (capitalist) companies

“Care will not be provided free at the point of use, like the NHS.

“There is no upper amount which advanced dementia self funders can pay.

“Even the Conservatives have capped this at £86,000 for social care in England

“If you have dementia and own a home, it is 99.9% certain that you will have to sell this to pay for the aforementioned accommodation above under the proposed NCS”. 

It is estimated that setting up a national body to deliver the plans could cost up to £495 million – while establishing care boards could require up to £726 million of public funding.

READ MORE: SNP's National Care Service plans revealed with focus on care at home 

Up to 700 government staff may need to be hired for the service to operate.
The Scottish Government has said it plans a signficant rise to free personal care and nursing contributions.

Jim Pearson, Alzheimer Scotland’s Director of Policy & Practice said: “The publication of this Bill is not a substitute for immediate action in response to the social care crisis. 

“The draft Bill is silent on inequality of people living with advanced dementia having to pay social care costs for the health and specialist nursing care they need in advance illness.

"People living with dementia today, and those who care for them, simply do not have the time to wait for three or four years for the improvements that we hope a National Care Service may bring."

The UK government was criticised after it later said that the financial help poorer people get from councils would not count towards the £86,000 cap.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish  Government said: “The proposed lifetime cap on care costs put forward by the UK government applies only to personal care costs.

"Personal Care is already free in Scotland for all who are assessed as needing it, regardless of their age, condition, capital or income.

“As well as free personal care, nursing care is also of course free at the point of delivery.

"For those self-funding their care home place, a payment contributing to these aspects of their care will be made directly to the respective care home by the local authority.

“The National Care Service Bill sets out a framework for the changes we want to make to social care and gives Scottish Ministers powers to work through the detail together with people with lived experience and our delivery partners.”