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Angry families left ‘high and dry’ by the NHS for YEARS over botched care home cash

ANGRY families have slammed the NHS for leaving them ‘high and dry’ as they step up their battle to recover millions of pounds owed to them after elderly relatives were wrongly denied funding to pay for their care home fees and had to sell of their home.

More than one million people have been forced to sell their homes to pay care home fees over the past five years. Tens of thousands more are unable to pass their homes on to their children as local authorities take charges out against properties that have to be paid when parents die.

The average cost of a UK nursing home is £738 per week – that’s almost £40,000 a year.

Many families struggle needlessly to come up with the cash in a situation where they may be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding which is not means tested and based on assessments of healthcare needs, such as mobility and severity of conditions.

Just 58,000 people currently receive the ‘secret’ funding but it is believed more than 150,000 are actually entitled to it.

Daily Mirror reader Christopher Andrews was wrongly told there was no other choice than to self-fund when he was forced to place his parents in a care
home:

“My parents have been in and out of care homes for the past four years. They both suffered from dementia and when they could no longer manage living on their own, a care home was the only option. When dad died last year, we had paid out more than £150,000 in fees to various care homes.

“We had to sell my parents’ house to pay the fees. It didn’t seem right that they had to fund everything themselves after working hard and paying taxes all their lives. After digging around online, I came across something called NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding and thought we might be entitled to it.

“In order to have our case reviewed and see if we can claim money back, we have to have a review by Medway CCG (Previously West Kent PCT). Farley Dwek, our solicitors actually registered our claim back on 20th August 2012 but we’ve had no timescales as to when this review may take place. The CCG is not obliged to work to any deadline which means we have no idea how long we could be waiting.”

“It’s hard to believe that people are being punished for working hard all their lives, paying taxes and buying their own homes. Mum was a policewoman and dad was a docker. It’s shocking that we were never told about the funding available to people in their situation.”

Andrew Farley of specialist care funding solicitors Farley Dwek, which helps families secure NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding for relatives, said it’s unacceptable that families should have to wait years to get their money back:

“The problem is that the current funding system is unfair and very slow to repay the money to families who are entitled to it. Mr Andrews’ case is unfortunately the tip of the iceberg and we’re acting for hundreds of families who are awaiting decisions or money from the NHS.

“It hits those who have worked their whole lives, spent their money wisely and put a bit aside for a rainy day. Families are often given short notice by their local NHS to attend a complex funding ­assessment meeting and in many cases I see they are improperly assessed or even worse not even made aware that funding is available at all.

“Crucial ­decisions are made that could spell the difference between paying nothing and paying £700 a week. If a family member has an NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding assessment looming I’d strongly suggest getting legal advice to make sure the process is carried through properly.

“Local NHS Trusts have made too many mistakes regarding funding and it is important you get the funding you are entitled to and ensure that your relative is assessed on a regular basis.

“This funding is also available for people receiving care at home and not just those in a care home. It isn’t applicable to everyone but should be considered by those whose needs are greatest.

“The system needs simplifying so that decisions within the NHS can be made more quickly and more correctly and hard working families like the Andrews family can get closure on the issue and move on with their lives.”

To download a free guide or learn more about NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding see www.farleydwek.com or call 0800 011

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Families miss out on thousands after being ‘ignored by the NHS’ on care funding

FAMILIES are missing out on thousands of pounds for elderly relatives because complex NHS funding decisions on care homes are being made behind their back, say legal experts.

The average cost of a UK nursing home is £738 per week – that’s almost £40,000 a year.

But many families struggle needlessly to come up with the cash in a situation where they may be eligible for full funding from the NHS although few people know about it. This is known as NHS Continuing Healthcare and is not means tested. It is based on assessments of healthcare needs, such as mobility and severity of conditions.

Just 58,000 people currently receive continuing care funding but it is believed more than 150,000 are actually entitled to it.

Andrew Farley of Farley Dwek Solicitors, said many elderly relatives are being assessed for the funding without their families knowledge:

“The NHS is undertaking Continuing Care Funding assessments of patients in hospital without telling their families that an assessment is taking place. This gives them no opportunity to hear what they have to say. This is against the principles of the NHS Framework and we are urging families to consider an appeal any decisions that have been made in their absence.

“This means that in the worst case scenarios some families may have wrongly sold off their parents’ home to pay for care home fees when they were entitled to free funding all along.”

More than one million people have been forced to sell their homes to pay care home fees over the past five years. Tens of thousands more are unable to pass their homes on to their children as local authorities take charges out against properties that have to be paid when parents die.

Andrew Farley of specialist care funding solicitors Farley Dwek, which helps families secure NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding said:

“It is a disgrace. The problem is that the current funding system is unfair. It hits those who have worked their whole lives, spent their money wisely and put a bit aside for a rainy day. Families are spending millions of pounds on care home fees unnecessarily.

“They often struggle to secure the funding because they are given short notice by their local NHS to attend a complex funding assessment meeting, in many cases they are improperly assessed or even worse not advised that funding is available at all because they assessments are being carried out behind their backs.”

“Crucial ¬decisions are made that could spell the difference between paying nothing and paying £700 a week and families should not be ignored when these decisions are being made” added Mr Farley.

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