We must not allow the terminally ill to be denied free care

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MARIE Curie was concerned by Mr Masterton’s story highlighted in the Scotland on Sunday (Dying man applied too soon for care, 17 August, 2014). Unfortunately, Mr Masterton’s case is not isolated. Marie ­Curie work with people who are terminally ill and some of the under 65-year-olds we care for have experienced similar struggles with their local authorities regarding free personal care, despite being entitled to it.

This is not acceptable. Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) guidance for local authorities on charging clearly states that people who are terminally ill “cannot be charged for personal care”. They can get a letter from their GP stating their condition and this should be all the evidence local authorities need.

The vast majority of people with a terminal illness want to receive their care at home and ultimately die there. In order to achieve this, they often need a significant amount of support and care from health and social care professionals, carers and loved ones. Personal care support is crucial to this and people with a terminal illness should not have to spend the precious time they have fighting with their local authorities to get what they are entitled to.

We welcome the Scottish Government’s interest in Mr Masterton’s case. However we call for an urgent investigation of the situation across Scotland to ascertain how often people with a terminal illness are being denied the support they are entitled to at a time when they need it most.

Richard Meade, head of policy and public affairs, Scotland, 
Marie Curie, Edinburgh

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