Scottish Tories confirm plans to launch so-called ‘Frank’s Law’ in the summer calling for free personal care for dementia suffers under 65
THE SNP has accused the Scottish Tories of having a “brass neck” over proposals for free personal care for dementia sufferers under the age of 65.
‘Frank’s Law’ is named after former Dundee United footballer Frank Kopel, who died in 2014 after a battle with dementia.
Currently, people who are under the age of 65 who require personal care have to pay for it, whereas those over 65 receive it for free after local authority assessment. The Scottish Tories confirmed plans at their conference on Saturday to introduce a private member’s bill on extending free care to those under 65, but the SNP launched a blistering attack in response, saying the Tories have a “brass neck” for calling for Frank’s Law now as they did not propose it as part of the recent budget negotiations.
A spokesperson for Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Instead, they used that process to grandstand on tax cuts for the richest 10 per cent of our population – cuts which would harm our ability to maintain existing health commitments, never mind enhance them.
“They also know full well that the Scottish Government is already committed to examining the extension of free personal and nursing care to those under 65 while protecting existing provision.
“And we have acted to expand current provision.”
“Many patients and families have told me, when you’re on your deathbed, worrying about where you’ll find money to pay for vital care is the last thing you want to go through.” Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservatives
The Scottish Tories’ mental health spokesperson, Miles Briggs, said that he has already been in contact with the authorities at Holyrood about Frank’s Law
He said: “It is a shocking indictment of this SNP government’s record on health that terminally ill patients under the age of 65 are being charged with the basic help they need.
“Many patients and families have told me, when you’re on your deathbed, worrying about where you’ll find money to pay for vital care is the last thing you want to go through.
“That’s why Frank’s Law is needed today, it was needed yesterday, and I will not let the SNP kick this into the long grass.”
Frank Kopel was aged 59 when he was diagnosed with dementia in 2008, and his family had to pay out £300 a week on personal care towards the end of his life. Frank had only 19 days of free personal care before he passed away in April 2014, aged 65.
Frank Kopel’s wife, Amanda, has been campaigning for a change in the law to allow people under 65 who have been diagnosed with degenerative conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, eligibility for free care.
Her husband started his football career with Manchester United before becoming Jim McLean’s first signing as manager of Dundee United, before going on to play more than 280 games for the club.
Kopel was 59 when he was diagnosed with dementia in 2008, and his family had to pay out £300 a week on personal care towards the end of his life.
He had only had 19 days of free personal care before he died in April 2014, aged 65.
“People with terminal illnesses already qualify for free care, and we have invested £6m to increase the income threshold at which someone becomes liable for charges.” SNP
Robison’s spokesperson added: “People with terminal illnesses already qualify for free care, and we have invested £6m to increase the income threshold at which someone becomes liable for charges. From 1 April 2017, armed forces veterans will have income from war pensions disregarded from social care financial assessments.
“And we are transforming the way we treat dementia, so more people have their independence for longer and working towards greater supported self-management at home.”
Picture courtesy of Scottish Government
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