Councils charging terminally ill for care

Right-to-die campaigner Diane Pretty was terminally ill with motor neurone disease Right-to-die campaigner Diane Pretty was terminally ill with motor neurone disease

Related Stories

Some Scottish councils are charging terminally ill people for personal care when they should get it for free, according to the charity Motor Neurone Disease Scotland.

One council - East Ayrshire - will only waive the charge if someone is expected to live for less than four weeks.

Personal care is free to anyone aged over 65 who is assessed as needing it.

The Scottish government said terminally ill people should not be charged for care.

Start Quote

Social Care Services are based on assessed need, and not on the basis of a person's specific medical condition”

End Quote Eddie Fraser East Ayrshire Council

East Ayrshire Council said that while it had "every sympathy" for terminally ill people requiring personal care it believed any charges should be based on specific care need for individuals.

Free personal care can include a range of assistance from bathing and showering to catheter/stoma care or help with preparing food.

About 130 people in Scotland are diagnosed with MND each year.

Because of its poor prognosis, fewer than 400 people have the illness at any one time.

People diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease live for an average of just 14 months, and often quickly lose the ability to walk, speak, feed themselves and breathe unaided.

But charity MND Scotland said too many of them were being charged for their personal care needs.

No clear policy

Some councils, such as the Western Isles and West Lothian, have no clear policy on when to charge, according to the charity.

Cosla said it believed that local charging policies should not be applied to people with terminal illnesses and would work closely with local health boards to provide a better, integrated service across all health boards.

Cllr Peter Johnston, Cosla's health and well-being spokesman, said: "Councils will work with their NHS partners at the local level to identify at what point a person is considered to be terminally ill, and this will vary from person-to-person and between different conditions."

He added: "As we move forward with health and social care integration, local authorities and health boards will be working together to improve the supports available to individuals and their families in the end stages of life."

MND Scotland said some local authorities would waive charges if a person had a letter or DS1500 form from their doctor.

Other local authorities may not accept a doctor's letter or DS1500 and choose to keep it a "grey area", allowing for "discretion".

These include Argyll and Bute, Glasgow, Dundee, North Lanarkshire, Orkney and West Dunbartonshire.

'Assessed need'

According to MND Scotland, East Ayrshire charges unless the person receiving care can prove they have less than four weeks to live.

Start Quote

The Scottish government is clear that people who are terminally ill should not be charged for their care”

End Quote Scottish government spokeswoman

Eddie Fraser, director of health and social care at East Ayrshire council, said: "Whilst we have every sympathy for people with such a medical situation, we believe that East Ayrshire Council Charging Framework is being applied in a fair, equitable and consistent manner and is in line with the principles contained within the National Guidance for Non Residential Social Work Services.

"Social Care Services are based on assessed need, and not on the basis of a person's specific medical condition.

"Charges are based on a financial assessment which identifies the amount of accessible weekly income to be used for charging purposes. No service user is left in financial hardship as a result of any charge applied."

MND Scotland is calling on councils to follow Cosla's guidance and is urging the Scottish government to update legislation to force them to provide free personal care for the terminally ill.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "The Scottish government is clear that people who are terminally ill should not be charged for their care.

"We are working closely with Cosla's charging guidance group to ensure that this is the case for everyone in Scotland and that there is consistency across all local authorities.

"We want to ensure that everyone who requires care, has access to the highest standards of care in every setting, their own home or a care home.

"That is why we are integrating health and social care to provide a more responsive and joined-up service for all those who require care."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Scotland stories

RSS

Scotland Decides: SCOTLAND VOTES NO

  1. No 2,001,926
  2. Yes 1,617,989
After 32 of 32 counts Results in detail

Referendum Live

  1.  
    08:15: Harman on Scotland 'alienation'

    Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman says there is a "major issue" in Scotland with people feeling they cannot have any confidence about jobs or their futures.

    The party needs to address that feeling of "alienation and resentment that was so clearly there," she tells BBC Radio Scotland.

     
  2.  
    08:14: Murray 'regrets indyref tweet'

    Andy Murray has spoken publicly for the first time about comments he made on the eve of the Scottish referendum. The tennis star was criticised for sending a tweet supporting independence.

    Andy Murray

    "I don't regret giving an opinion. I think everyone should be allowed that," he said.

    "The way I did it, yeah, it wasn't something I would do it again."

     
  3.  
    08:03: View from Wales Sian Elin Dafydd BBC News

    Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones has emphatically said there is a need to rebuild the UK and give more powers to Wales.

    He's repeatedly called for a constitutional convention on the devolution of the UK. He's been doing it for more than two years - and some say he's been ignored.

    Yesterday he told the Labour Party Conference in Manchester that support for Welsh independence would grow unless Labour honoured its commitment to rebuild the UK.

    He says people don't want independence but they are attracted to parties like the SNP, UKIP and Plaid Cymru because they are so fed up with the status quo.

     
  4.  
    07:56: Lamont 'quitting' rumours Glenn Campbell BBC Scotland news

    Several newspapers are reporting rumours speculating that Labour leader Johann Lamont is considering stepping down as leader of the Scottish Labour party.

    Johann Lamont and Ed Miliband at the Labour Party conference in Manchester

    Her press spokesperson denied that last night and pointed to her Labour conference speech about leading the party into the 2016 Holyrood elections.

    It doesn't seem that there is any imminent announcement from her.

     
  5.  
    07:52: Harriet Harman interview coming up... Gary Robertson BBC Radio Scotland

    As Ed Miliband delivers his leaders' speech to Labour's conference @HarrietHarman #bbcgms 0810.

     
  6.  
    07:49: Analysis Glenn Campbell BBC Scotland news

    I think Alex Salmond will tell MSPs that, in his view, the referendum was a success.

    Clearly he didn't win independence, but he'll argue the high levels of voter participation and the high levels of interest from media from all over the world are things that people on both sides of the argument can be proud of.

    I think he'll also commit the Scottish government - and the SNP - to hold the UK political parties to the promises they made on further devolution and protecting the funding formula that supplies the Scottish government with the cash to spend on devolved services.

    Outgoing First Minister Alex Salmond

    He'll also call for votes for 16-year-olds in the next UK general election and subsequent polls because of the interest and engagement they showed in the independence referendum.

    I know that Labour leader Ed Miliband has been supportive in the past and there were reports overnight that he will commit to this in his conference speech later.

    The Lib Dems are also in favour of this but the Conservatives are against it.

     
  7.  
    Text 80295 07:45: Referendum - Get Involved

    ATB, from Sunny Leith by Sea, Zane: One of the funniest things I've heard this week (it is only Tuesday, mind you) it all boils down to a simple slogan - "Wales misses out on funding of around £300m per year, but there is some doubt over the funding calculations." They're going to struggle to get that out on Twitter, since the slogan itself is 113 characters!

    Norrie in Stevenston: Everybody, including the media, keep going on about more powers for Scotland but this wasn't on the referendum ballot paper. Why do we need more powers? Just more layers of bureaucracy and expense we don't need; things are fine the way they are thanks.

     
  8.  
    07:41: 'Why I bet £900k on the indyref'

    One man bet £900,000 on a No vote in the Scottish independence referendum...and won.

    Indyref bet

    He has given a fascinating insight to the BBC on his thought process for a significant political gamble...

     
  9.  
    07:36: SNP 'surge'

    The Herald reports that the SNP is on course to become the UK's third biggest political party, with a 62% surge in membership following the referendum.

    The Herald newspaper

    And comedian Billy Connolly predicts trouble ahead should Prime Minister David Cameron fail to honour his promise of further powers for Scotland.

    Read our newspaper round-up here.

     
  10.  
    @bbcscotlandnews 07:34: Referendum - Your Views

    Julie Thomson tweets: A No vote doesn't mean a #Labour vote. #SNP membership growing.

     
  11.  
    07:31: Scottish papers

    The Scottish newspapers are continuing to reflect on the fallout from the referendum.

    The Scotsman

    The Scotsman quotes the Leader of the House of Commons, William Hague, as saying that the pledge of flagship new powers for Scotland will be honoured.

     
  12.  
    07:30: After the dust settled... James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    Politicians return to Holyrood after Scotland rejected independence.

    Holyrood
     
  13.  
    07:26: The Big Yin fires a warnin...

    Billy Connolly has been giving his thoughts on Scotland's referendum.

    The comedian said there would be trouble if David Cameron did not honour his promise of further powers.

    Billy Connolly

    Speaking at the London premiere of What We Did On Our Holiday, he said: "It's 50:50 - 50% of the country are delighted, 50% are disappointed. But Scotland will get used to the idea.

    "If Mr Cameron keeps up his promises we should be okay. If he doesn't there'll be hell to pay."

     
  14.  
    Text 80295 07:24: Referendum reaction

    Dave, Aberdeen: I believe William Hague said a few days ago that any money raised by new powers over income tax would be clawed back with a £ for £ reduction in the Barnett Formula. Is this true?

     
  15.  
    07:21: 'Bitter-sweet occasion' Colin Blane BBC Scotland news

    This will be a bitter-sweet occasion for Scotland's outgoing first minister.

    Alex Salmond lost the referendum and is preparing to stand down but he does so against the backdrop of a sudden surge in membership for the pro-independence parties.

    His own SNP has added more than 20,000 new members in four days - an 80% increase - which means it has nudged ahead of the Lib Dems to become the third largest party in the UK.

    Mr Salmond is expected to tell the Scottish Parliament that both sides in the referendum can take pride in the campaign and in the huge turnout.

    He'll also say the way 16 and 17-year-olds participated makes the case for them to be given the vote in all elections.

     
  16.  
    07:20: Get Involved Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Something you want to get off your chest following Scotland's referendum vote? Send us your thoughts via email, text 80295 or tweet @bbcscotlandnews using #bbcindyref

     
  17.  
    07:18: 'Reflection time'

    Ahead of today's debate, Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick will open proceedings with "time for reflection", a Holyrood slot normally reserved for spiritual or philosophical contributions from religious or secular figureheads.

     
  18.  
    07:16: Holyrood debate

    The debate on the future of Scotland that follow Salmond's statement will go on for two days.

    Alex Salmond

    We'll bring you all the latest lines today and tomorrow as they happen.

     
  19.  
    07:12: Scots made right choice - Miliband
    Miliband speaking

    Also coming up - Labour leader Ed Miliband is expected to tell his party's conference in Manchester that Scotland made the right choice voting against independence.

    But he will say a country that comes close to splitting apart "is not a country in good health".

     
  20.  
    07:09: Salmond successor

    The SNP parliamentary group will also meet today, with nominations for Mr Salmond's successor expected to open on Wednesday.

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Almost every member of the Scottish cabinet has publicly backed his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, to replace him as SNP leader and first minister.

     
  21.  
    07:05: Parties respond

    The Scottish Labour, Lib Dem and the Conservative parties will also offer their response to the electorate's decision to reject independence by 55% to 45%.

    Labour leader Johann Lamont is likely to offer to find common ground with the SNP.

    The Lib Dems are expected to urge Yes campaigners not to be bystanders as Holyrood pushes for further powers.

    And the Conservatives will accuse the Nationalists of having no intention of accepting the referendum result.

     
  22.  
    07:02: Salmond vote call

    Mr Salmond, who announced after the No result that he would stand down in November, is also expected to call for 16 and 17-year-olds to be given the vote at future elections.

    Outgoing first minister Alex Salmond

    He is also to vow to hold the UK parties to account over further powers.

     
  23.  
    07:01: Holyrood debate

    First Minister Alex Salmond is to address the Scottish Parliament later - for the first time since Scotland voted against independence.

    MSPs will also hold a debate on the outcome of the referendum.

     
  24.  
    07:00: Referendum reaction Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Good morning and welcome to today's live page coverage of the latest post-referendum news and analysis.

     

Features

  • The chequeBig gamble

    How does it feel to bet £900,000 on the Scottish referendum?


  • Peaky Blinders publicity shotBrum do

    Why is the Birmingham accent so difficult to mimic?


  • Oliver CromwellA brief history

    The 900 year story behind the creation of a UK parliament


  • Image of Ankor Wat using lidarJungle Atlantis

    How lasers have revealed an ancient city beneath the forest


  • TheatreBard taste? Watch

    Are trailer videos on social media spoiling theatre?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.