Speaking at FMQs today, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie pressed the First Minister on her government’s failure to address the “home care crisis” and delayed discharges in Scotland.
At the August census there were 1,162 patients waiting in hospital because they needed a care package to enable them to live in their own home or a needs assessment to be conducted. The figures can be found here.
Douglas Dawson, who suffers with MS, has been confined to a wheelchair since 2008 and requires two carers a day. Fife Council has attempted to charge Mr Dawson £26,000 for staying in St Andrews House Care Home even though he does not want, or need, to be there.
Willie Rennie has written to the Health Secretary and the Work and Pensions Secretary to urge them to intervene in Mr Dawson’s case.
Willie Rennie said:
“This is an infuriating and upsetting situation for Douglas and his family. Like many others, his life has been put on hold by the SNP’s mismanagement of the NHS.
“If the government had kept its bed blocking promise, Mr Dawson would not be subject to this degrading treatment, and he is not alone.
“There have been two million unnecessary bed stays in Scottish hospitals since ministers promised to stop the practice completely. There is a home care crisis across the country.
“People in real need look to the government, listen to their promises but have been left waiting and abandoned. What do they have to do to get something done?”
Mr Dawson commented:
“It strikes me as perverse that Fife Council, who are responsible for providing care for me at home, are trying to charge me for staying in residential care which I do not want, or need yet. The Council appear to be unfairly using legislation designed to protect people as an instrument of usury.
“I have already had my Disability Living Allowance withdrawn which is having a big impact on the finances of both myself, and my wife. This is completely degrading way of dealing with someone who just wants to go home and work. I’m pleased that Mr Rennie has raised the issue with the Scottish Government but am concerned that my case will be ignored once again.”