Ombudsman orders £25,000 pay out

Hertfordshire Council and health authority are set to reimburse
more than £25,000 of nursing home fees to a woman after the
local government ombudsman ruled that her late husband had
incorrectly been denied access to free continuing care.

A social worker, who had responsibility for finding a suitable
nursing home for the complainant’s late husband after he was
discharged from hospital, agreed to apply for NHS continuing care
funding but failed to do so.

The social worker then closed the man’s file without telling his
wife. The complaint was made after a different social worker
successfully applied for continuing care when the man’s savings
fell below £16,000.

Although the council upheld the complaint, they refused to
reimburse her the £22,055 worth of fees until the ombudsman

The case follows the ruling last month by health service ombudsman
Ann Abrahams, who upheld claims that four older people from
different health authorities were incorrectly forced to pay for
their continuing care in care homes (news, page 10, 27 February).
She called for the four authorities to identify other patients
similarly affected and warned that “significant sums of money are
likely to be involved”.

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