A move to introduce “Frank’s Law” in Scotland will be launched at the Scottish Parliament this summer to introduce free care for younger people who develop dementia.
It follows a campaign by the widow of former Dundee United footballer Frank Kopel, who developed the condition at the age of 59 and died three years ago.
Amanda Kopel addressed the Tory conference yesterday to outline the importance of the change, which has the backing of opposition parties at Holyrood.
“I am not ashamed to ask, beg and plead for those people, who are under 65, and whose voices are being continuously ignored. Every day is precious to them and their families,” she said.
“They desperately need help at the most vulnerable time of their lives.”
The Tories’ mental health spokesman, Miles Briggs, is to bring forward a members bill which would provide free treatment for all Scots who develop the illness under the age of 65.
Briggs previously announced he would act if the Scottish Government failed to, particularly now there is majority support for Frank’s Law within the Scottish Parliament.
He said: “It is a shocking indictment on this SNP Government’s record on health that terminally ill patients under the age of 65 are being charged for the basic help they need. Many patients and families have told me, when you’re on your death bed, worrying about where you’ll find money to pay for vital care is the last thing you want to go through.”
A spokeswoman for Health Secretary Shona Robison said the Scottish Government is already committed to examining the extension of free personal and nursing care to those under 65.
“People with terminal illnesses already qualify for free care, and we have invested £6 million to increase the income threshold at which someone becomes liable for charges,” she said.