A landmark recommendation by the new Health Service Ombudsman
could cause the NHS to face a compensation bill of millions of
pounds, reimbursing dementia sufferers, disabled people and those
with chronic illnesses who have been wrongly made to pay for long
term care in care homes, writes Amy
In a new report, which upholds allegations concerning four older
people whose relatives said they were incorrectly forced to pay for
their long term care, Ann Abraham calls for the four health
authorities she investigated to identify any other patients also
made to pay.
She recognises that “significant numbers of people and sums of
money are likely to be involved”.
Paul Burstow MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on older people,
said: “Tens of thousands of elderly people have been illegally
forced to pay for long term care that should have been
free…it could cost tax payers hundreds of millions of
The report was a result of four investigations into health
authorities in Dorset, Wigan and Bolton, Berkshire and Birmingham
after complaints about the way they set and applied eligibility
criteria for NHS funding for the long term care of older and
Abraham has also called for the department of health to review
and clarify its guidance on the system of eligibility for the NHS
funding. She said the guidance was misapplied by some health
authorities and trusts, there were also “fundamental problems” with
The Alzheimer’s Society said three-quarters of people in long
term care have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, but that
many are forced to pay for themselves.
“Callers to our Helpline repeatedly tell us how little dementia
care the NHS will fund – even people in the palliative stage of
care are told that they must finance their own care,” said Harry
Cayton, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society.
‘NHS funding for long term care
of older and disabled people’ available