They are losing out on inheritances because health authorities have failed to pay for care home costs, sometimes topping £100,000, when they should have done.

The Government is believed to have set aside £10 million or more to pay back wrongly-charged care home fees, according to Andrew Farley of Farley Dwek Solicitors in Manchester.

But he said primary care trusts (PCTs) across England were using a “scandalous” strategy of “making it more complex than it needs to be to make a claim”.

They were imposing false 28-day deadlines for making claims to scare people off pursuing them, he said.

In usual circumstances, people in England with assets over £23,000 have to meet the full cost of their care.

However, if their health is so bad that they would otherwise have to be in hospital, the NHS should pick up the tab.

Mr Farley said many people only found this out after a parent had died.

“Some elderly people have had to sell their homes to pay for their own care, when they should not have needed to,” said the solicitor, whose firm is acting for about 250 families.

“We estimate the Government had earmarked at least £10m for the relatives of victims but we believe they are quietly satisfied at the relatively slow take up thanks to a strategy of making it more complex than it needs to be to make a claim.”

He continued: “It is scandalous that families are being bullied and given an unenforceable and illegal deadline of just 28 days to gather all the evidence they need.

“It’s an impossible task without external help and I feel this deadline is put in place to put people off claiming.”

One family was claiming £250,000, he said, while the firm had successfully claimed £45,000 for another.

“When you are talking about care home fees of up to £600 to £1,000 a day, it soon mounts up,” he said.

The Department of Health has introduced new guidelines stating that ‘eligibility’ reviews regarding recent care must be completed within three months of receipt of the request. Under these guidelines, it is up to PCTs to inform individuals of “the process and timescales which apply”.

Jo Webber, interim policy director at the NHS Confederation, which represents PCTs, said: “It is obviously good practice to make the review paperwork as simple to complete as possible and trusts should ensure that their forms are understandable and people are signposted to where they can get help with the process if needed.

“PCTs have a responsibility to see that individuals and families who request reviews get clear, easy-to-understand information about the process and contact details for someone at the PCT with whom they can discuss any queries.”

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *