Future for elderly free care 'up in the air'

The future of Scotland’s free health care for the elderly was thrown into disarray following a judge’s ruling, it has emerged.

In a landmark decision, Lord Macphail declared that councils do not have to pay care costs for pensioners who had made their own arrangements in private nursing homes.

The judgement was on a dispute over the provision of free personal care to a Helensburgh man by Argyll and Bute council between the local authority and the Public Services Ombudsman.

It removes the requirement for local councils to pay the £145 weekly grant for personal care to elderly people who pay for their board in residential care homes, the Herald asserts.

Recent figures suggests that this issue may affect between 9,000 and 9,500 consumers.

Scotland introduced free personal care for those over the age of 65 – who live at home or in care homes – assessed as requiring such attention in July 2002.