Glasgow & West Scotland

East Ayrshire Council changes free care decision for terminally ill man

Andy Masterton
Image caption Andy Masterton was told only people four weeks from death are entitled to free personal care

A council that twice told a terminally ill man he was not close enough to death to qualify for free personal care has reversed its decision in his case.

Andy Masterton, who is in the final stages of motor neurone disease, was told by East Ayrshire Council that he applied too early for the benefit.

The council said the benefit was only for people who were four weeks from death at the point they were referred.

It has now said it will waive the charges in Mr Masterton's case.

Only over-65s are currently entitled to free help with washing and dressing.

Guidance from the Council of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) recommends that people under 65 should be given free personal care if they have a terminal illness.

Image caption Mr Masterton is cared for by his wife Marjorie

Earlier this year the motor neurone disease charity, MND Scotland, criticised the variety of ways councils interpret Cosla's guidance.

The charity's chief executive Craig Stockton said it was "deeply concerning" that despite a clear statement from the health minister that people under 65 with a terminal illness, such as MND, should not be charged for personal care, East Ayrshire Council had chosen to stick with its policy.

A statement from East Ayrshire Council said there was "no legislative framework" for providing free personal care for people under 65 but it would now review its own policy.

Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council, said "We have stated previously that we would review our charging policy when national guidance is updated.

"In recent days we have taken account of views both locally and nationally and will now progress to review our policy immediately in advance of any other update.

"Eddie Fraser, our director of health and social care, has been in direct contact with the family today and will meet them early next week. He has confirmed that, for Mr Masterton, this will mean an end to charges being applied for his care."

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