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Demand for free care predicted to rise

Demand for free personal and nursing care will grow with the projected increase in the elderly population in Scotland, a report suggests.

Free personal and nursing care was introduced in Scotland in early 2001 at the same time as several other significant changes in health and social care.

The Audit Scotland report found that ambiguities in what constitutes free personal care mean the policy has so far been applied inconsistently across the country.

Accounts Commission Chairman John Baillie said: "The Scottish Executive and Scotland's councils were set a tight deadline for developing and implementing this policy. They were successful in doing so. However, there is variation across the country in how the policy has been implemented."

Auditor General Secretary in Scotland Robert Black added: "Free and personal nursing care is an important policy for older people in Scotland.

"It is well documented that Scotland has a growing older population, and demand for free personal care will grow. There needs to be better planning and better funding of this policy.

Audit Scotland