FALSE and impossible deadlines are being imposed by the NHS on thousands of families claiming refunds on care homes fees they shouldn’t have had to pay in the first place, say experts.
Some families have recovered more than £100,000 in fees wrongly paid by elderly relatives, others have had to sell their homes to wrongly pay for care home fees of up to £1,000 per month.
Families are being misled by the NHS by wrongly being told they need to complete and return complex questionnaires and medical records within just 28 days of receiving claim documents.
Experts say the ’28 day deadline’ is impossible for most people to meet and are urging people to ignore it and seek independent legal advice.
In a standard letter issued to families NHS Trusts pressure them to return a complex medical questionnaire within 28 days.
Andrew Farley, Director of Farley Dwek Solicitors represents more than 250 families battling to recover fees from the NHS:
“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. When people realise how complicated it is they are put off even though they are owed significant amounts of money. The fact is that families have until 31st March 2013 to lodge their claim – not just 28 days as the NHS claims.
“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.
“If your relative was rejected for funding on financial eligibility alone then they should challenge the decision immediately. We’re handling more than 250 cases and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
The actual deadline of 31st March 2013 has been set by the Department of Health for families to lodge a claim to recover care home fees spent between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012.