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Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 23:12 GMT 00:12 UK
Elderly care policy 'unfair'
Nurse attends elderly woman
Labour's long-term care policy is under fire
The elderly are receiving "unworkable" and "unfair" care provision in England and Wales compared to people north of the border, a leading charity has said.

From Monday, the elderly in Scotland are entitled to free long term provision of personal care such as help with washing, dressing and eating.

However in England and Wales, although nursing care is partly funded, personal care is not.

Help the Aged said the disparity between different parts of Britain is unacceptable and claims the distinction between nursing care and personal care is a false one.


Help the Aged is pleased that the Scottish Parliament has recognised that free personal care is no less than older people deserve

Help The Aged
The chairty said this particularly discriminated against those with long term conditions such as Alzheimer's, chronic arthritis and Parkinson's.

Many may not need nursing care, defined as time spent by a qualified nurse on providing, delegating or supervising care.

But they do need care to improve the quality of their lives, said the charity.

Jonathan Ellis, health policy officer at Help The Aged, said: "The government's long term care policy is unfair and unworkable, particularly in light of the new situation north of the Scottish border.

'Massive confusion'

"Help the Aged is pleased that the Scottish Parliament has recognised that free personal care is no less than older people deserve, and no less than a caring society should provide.

"We urge Westminster to swallow its pride and do the same for England and Wales."

The charity said a government policy which allows for such disparities in care across Britain in an ageing population is flawed.

And it said the common distinction made between nursing care and personal care was misleading.

The charity said there was also massive confusion about how new rules on long term care work.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the Government had accepted recommendations of the Royal Commission on Long Term Care except over the provision of free personal care.

She said the government had provided 320m over two years to provide NHS funding for care previously paid for by the patient.

"Seven out of 10 people already get some or all of their personal care costs paid for by the state," she said.

She said the distinction between nursing and personal care was fully debated when the Health and Social Care Act 2001 passed through Parliament.

And she added Alzheimer's sufferers often required care from a registered nurse.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jane Warr
"Seven out of 10 elderly people get some or all of their personal care costs paid by the state"
Tessa Harding, Help the Aged
"Personal care involves basic survival tasks, it's hardly a luxury"
See also:

30 Sep 01 | Health
26 May 02 | Health
11 Mar 02 | Health
28 Jan 02 | Health
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