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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Tory MSP lodges member's bill for Frank's Law free care legislation

Written by The Press Association

The Scottish Conservatives will lodge legislation to extend free care to under-65s with conditions such as dementia at Holyrood today.

A member's bill brought forward by Tory MSP Miles Briggs seeks to implement the so-called Frank's Law, named after footballer Frank Kopel.

Mr Briggs will be joined at the launch of the legislation by Amanda Kopel, wife of the former Dundee United footballer, who died in 2014 after a battle with dementia.

Frank's Law aims to end the situation where people under 65 who have conditions such as dementia, motor neurone disease, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and cancer have to pay for the care they need.

Mr Briggs, the Conservatives' health spokesman, said: " Frank died just after his 65th birthday but had been suffering from dementia for some years beforehand.

"For most of that time, it was his wife Amanda who had to provide and pay for the personal care he needed.

"Personal care means help with things like washing, dressing and meals.

"At present, you only have a right to free personal care if you are 65 or over. That seems to me unfair.

"My bill will make personal care free to anyone who is assessed as requiring it, no matter what age they are or what illness or condition they have.

"There is a majority in the Scottish Parliament in favour of Frank's Law and ministers need to recognise this and implement Frank's Law without further delay."

The Scottish Liberal Democrats' Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "Frank's Law has the full support of the Liberal Democrats and we look forward to joining MSPs across the political divide in making sure this is guaranteed in legislation.

"We now have an opportunity to act and I hope all politicians choose to do so."

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the Government was already committed to examining the extension of free personal and nursing care to those under 65 "while protecting existing provision".

She said: " We are currently running a feasibility study to consider the costs, benefits, challenges and consequences of extending free personal care, including analysis of the additional demand for care likely to be created and the relationship with social security provision. This will be completed over the summer.

"As part of this work, we are meeting with all relevant partners, including service user organisations and Cosla.

"We have already made progress on fairer charging for social care by providing local authorities with £6 million to increase charging thresholds and £5 million from this April to ensure that armed forces veterans who receive social care benefit from the full value of their war pensions."

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