Scotland's main opposition party has pledged a review of the flagship free personal care policy if it wins power in next year's Scottish Parliament elections.

Scotland's main opposition party has pledged a review of the flagship free personal care policy if it wins power in next year's Scottish Parliament elections.

In a speech last week, Scottish National Party depute leader Nicola Sturgeon reaffirmed the party's support for the controversial policy, but said it was not being implemented properly. She also announced that Sir Stewart Sutherland, who chaired the UK-wide royal commission on long-term care, would be an adviser to the review.

Free personal care was introduced in Scotland in 2002 and is seen as one of the main ways the country's health policy has diverged from the rest of the UK since devolution.

While it has been largely welcomed, concerns about the budgeting process and potential loopholes were raised earlier this year by the Scottish Parliament's health committee.

One problem is the difficulty knowing how much the policy costs, although it is estimated to be around£140m per year.

Ms Sturgeon said she was proud that the SNP had helped bring the 'landmark policy' into being, but added: 'An SNP government will not allow free personal care to wither on the vine as it would seem some in the current executive are content for it to do.'

A spokesman for the executive said the policy had been a success, benefitting nearly 50,000 older people, and was already subject to independent review so that it could be further improved.