Government denies Frank’s Law “won’t get past the photo opportunity stage”

© DC Thomson
Health secretary Shona Robison.

Scotland’s health secretary has denied Frank’s Law “won’t get past the photo opportunity stage”.

Shona Robison was responding after it emerged no plan to implement Frank’s Law has yet been given to councils.

© DC Thomson
Health Secretary Shona Robison congratulated Frank’s Law campaigner Amanda Kopel in her Kirriemuir home back in September.

The head of Angus community health and social care said no regulations or guidance has been issued “as would normally, in due course, accompany new legislative duties”.

Fears have been expressed such a “financial and cultural” change has been left to “the last minute.”

Ms Robison said: “We are committed to working with our stakeholders to bring about these changes, and implement Frank’s Law, by April 2019 – this lead-in time will enable us to work with partners to shape implementation, enable assessment processes to separate personal and non-personal care to be set up, and the necessary legislative and guidance changes to be put 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.

“This timeframe will also be used to continue to demand a guarantee from the UK Government that people who gain free personal care will not see their benefits reduced – as happened when free personal care was first introduced.

“We must all work together to put pressure on the UK Government and ensure they do not claw back benefits.”

© DC Thomson
Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East Region Bill Bowman.

More than 9,000 Scottish families could benefit from free personal care for everyone who requires it, regardless of age, following a campaign led by former Dundee United footballer Frank Kopel’s widow Amanda.

The Scottish Conservatives led the parliamentary campaign for the adoption of Frank’s Law, culminating in a Member’s Bill being lodged by shadow health secretary Miles Briggs.

North East region MSP Bill Bowman said: “The financial and cultural change will require considerable time to bed in at local authority and health board level.

“The adoption of Frank’s Law was trumpeted by Nicola Sturgeon in the programme for the SNP Government.

“But it appears it’s been put in the shop window at the last minute, without any work behind it.

“It shares a number of characteristics with other policies the SNP know won’t get past the photo opportunity stage.”

Mrs Kopel, who is from Kirriemuir, said she is now questioning whether the Scottish Government is “stalling for time”.

“The under-65s who are desperate for the help of Frank’s Law and have waited long enough for that help.

“Every day we see other laws being passed within a matter of months, and whereas they still might be important, they are not as important as Frank’s Law.”

Backed by The Courier, Mrs Kopel has campaigned for the introduction of free personal care for everyone who requires it, regardless of age, since 2013 after her husband and ex-footballer Frank was diagnosed with dementia.

“As yet, no regulations or guidance have been issued by the Scottish Government, as would normally in due course accompany new legislative duties,” wrote George Bowie of Angus Health and Social Care Partnership in his response to Mr Bowman.

“Consequently, we are unable to develop operational procedures and have these approved by the Angus IJB, nor to allocate resources to the new duties.

“We will begin to develop plans to implement the new legislation as the guidance becomes available.”