NHS watchdog slams Whitehall efforts on personal care reimbursement

Inadequate support by the government contributed to the lengthy
delays in assessing compensation claims for people wrongly charged
by the NHS for personal care, writes Derren

Health service ombudsman Ann Abraham said in her annual report that
despite her warnings last year, the Department of Health had not
provided adequate support and guidance to assess cases by April

Only 57 per cent of case reviews had been carried out by the
initial deadline and there are still more than 6,000 outstanding
requests for review. The government has pledged to finish these by
the end of July.

Community care minister Stephen Ladyman has consistently said that
the delays were due to a higher than expected number of case review
requests. But Abraham’s said: “While I recognise a
proportion of requests for reviews were not received until after
December 2003, it represents a very disappointing performance,
compounded by the fact reviews are unlikely to be completed until
the end of July.”

The review was prompted by a ruling by Abraham’s last year
that the NHS should pay for the continuing care of people suffering
from certain conditions. The final bill is expected to cost the
government more than £180m.

Annual report from www.ombudsman.org.uk

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