A Plaid Cymru government will abolish social care charges for the elderly and those with dementia, the party’s Shadow Health Minister Elin Jones has announced today.
Elin Jones said that the party would achieve the goal through a phased approach:
- Firstly, the party will deliver free non-residential personal care for older people within the first two years of a Plaid Cymru government.
- Secondly, nursing and residential care charges for those with dementia will be abolished within five years.
- Thirdly, all remaining social care charges for the elderly would be completely abolished within the second term of a Plaid Cymru government.
NHS care is currently free at the point of need and social care is means-tested and charged at the point of need.
Elin Jones said that delivering social care for free would remove the final barrier between health and social care.
Plaid Cymru, she said, will ensure equal care for equal need.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Minister also announced today that her party will scrap local health boards, integrating all community health and social care, with one National Hospital Board responsible for running Wales’ hospitals.
The radical pledge is the biggest change to the way care is delivered in Wales since the establishment of the NHS in 1948.
Party of Wales Shadow Health Minister Elin Jones said:
“Plaid Cymru will provide equality and fairness for people. This announcement is about delivering equal care for those with equal need.
“People with conditions which have similar burdens, such as cancer and dementia, currently have different levels of support from the state. A person receiving a cancer diagnosis can expect the majority of care to be free, whilst a person receiving a dementia diagnosis can expect to be means-tested and pay for a vast amount of their care.
“Plaid Cymru will equalise this care. Plaid Cymru will deliver free personal care for the elderly and those with dementia, with a view to extend this to deliver free care for all. The so-called Lottery of NHS Continuing Care will cease to exist.
“This is historic change that will put the needs of patients back at the heart of the NHS. It is about keeping the social contract with people who have worked throughout their lives, paid their taxes, and who now need care; Plaid Cymru promises to deliver that care and take away the financial barriers to care.”
For more information about this announcement, read this blog by Elin Jones: https://www.partyof.wales/the-slate/2015/10/08/providing-free-social-care-is-part-of-the-social-contract-blog-by-elin-jones/