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Friday, 08 September 2017

Under 65s with dementia need free care now, says Frank's Law widow

Written by The Press Association

Frank's Law campaigner Amanda Kopel has backed a Conservative call to fast-track the new legislation to expand free personal care.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced free personal care will be extended to under-65s with degenerative conditions as part of the Programme for Government on Tuesday.

The government has said the law will be in place by April 2019 but Scottish Conservative health secretary Miles Briggs is calling for it to be brought forward by a year, supported by Mrs Kopel (pictured).

The new law is named after her late husband, former Dundee United player Frank Kopel.

He was diagnosed with early onset dementia aged 59 and faced bills of £1,200 a month for care until he died aged 65 in 2014, just weeks after he qualified for free personal care.

She said: "Of course I'm delighted that finally common sense has prevailed and Frank's Law will be delivered.

"However, to be told that it will be April 2019 is really no good for the under 65s who desperately need help now.

"Time is so very precious to them, and they don't have it on their side. Sadly, a lot of them will not be here in 2019, so it's imperative the date is brought forward."

Mr Briggs called on the the Scottish Government to take action to ensure the new law can be implemented by April 2018.

He said: " While the belated decision to commit to introducing Frank's Law is welcome, I am very concerned the extension of free personal care will not come into force and be a reality for families until April 2019.

"For too many people in Scotland, Frank's Law is needed today and was needed yesterday.

"A delay of more than 18 months just isn't good enough."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The introduction of free personal care for everyone who requires it, regardless of age, will help thousands of families across Scotland.

"At least 9,000 people will benefit from this change and we will work to bring about these changes by April 2019 so that all those who require personal care are able to access it.

"This will include assessment processes to separate personal and non-personal care, and putting the necessary legislative and guidance changes in place.

"Perhaps most importantly, working with local government and others to build up care capacity of properly qualified staff, so that no-one who is currently receiving care sees that diminished."

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