Alzheimer Scotland is pleased to bring you a positive update on our Fair Dementia Care campaign.

As many of you will know, in January 2019 we published the ‘Delivering Fair Dementia Care For People With Advanced Dementia’ report, produced by The Fair Dementia Care Commission. You can read more about the report and its recommendations here.

For two years we have campaigned to ensure people with advanced dementia have equality of access to the health care they need, and that the health care they receive is free at the point of delivery, on a par with people who are living with other progressive and terminal illnesses.

In a small but positive move forward, the Scottish Government have proposed an above-inflation increase of 7.5% in the Free Personal and Nursing Care payments which are paid towards the costs of those living in care homes. The proposed change should mean that from 1 April 2021, many people living in a Care Home will see an increase in the Free Personal Care and Nursing Care payments they are entitled to. If approved, this means increases of:

Free Personal Care payments: from £180 to £193.50 per week.
Nursing Care payments: from £81 to £87.10 per week

That’s an annual increase of £702 for those entitled to Free Personal Care and £1019 for those entitled to both Free Personal Care and Nursing Care payments.

This is the largest annual increase in Free Personal and Nursing Care payments since they were introduced in 2002. Whilst there is a long way to go in achieving our overall aim to ensure people with advanced dementia receive free health care, this news is a welcome move in the right direction.

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland Chief Executive said: “Fair Dementia Care is one of the most significant campaigns Alzheimer Scotland has ever undertaken. People with advanced dementia, and their families, are on the receiving end of substantial inequalities; something the coronavirus pandemic has only served to highlight. This news is warmly welcomed and brings us one step closer to achieving Fair Dementia Care. It demonstrates that, with political will, our proposal to increase Free Personal and Nursing Care payments to a level that reflects the actual cost of care can help end this inequality and that this can be done quickly within the existing legal framework. The fact that we now know this is possible, and that the Scottish Government have committed to tackle the issues, provides hope for the future. Although this is not yet close to the type of increases that we would like to see, it is a start. It is imperative that this modest increase benefits families directly and is not consumed by increased costs to those living in care homes by providers, above those already contractually agreed.

I have no doubt that the Fair Dementia Care campaign has helped to move the needle on the Free Personal and Nursing Care increase, and I must thank every single person who has supported our quest. I would also like to thank The Herald and Glasgow Times for their continued backing, and for helping our voice to be heard and William Hill for their unwavering support. Whilst this is an encouraging step forward, it doesn’t fully solve the injustice and we remain fully committed to ending these inequities. People with advanced dementia, and their families, deserve that.”

We will shortly be announcing our 2021 Scottish Election pledge, which will be focussed around Fair Dementia Care. We will be releasing more details on this in the very near future.