In Homing in on free personal care from Independent Age, yesterday:
A key benefit of free personal care is its potential to increase the number of people receiving care at home (where they would face no costs whatsoever) and decrease the number of people in care homes. Primarily this would be achieved because free personal care is a much simpler policy to understand. This should mean individuals are more willing to engage with it, without the fear of racking up vast costs. This should also mean that people are more likely to engage with the system at an earlier stage before their care needs develop to the point that they are so severe residential care is needed. This has been proven to be the case in Scotland where free personal care was introduced for older people in 2002. In analysis conducted four years after free personal care was introduced, demand for domiciliary care had increased by 10%10. And within seven years of the introduction of free personal care, the number of long stay residents aged 65+ supported in care homes had reduced by 4%
In Scotland where personal care has been free for over 65s since 2002, there has been a significant decrease in the number of delayed transfers of care. Removal of the financial assessment would reduce bottlenecks in the system which can see older people waiting in hospital for weeks at a time.