Community care minister Stephen Ladyman has admitted he is
personally embarrassed by the length of time it has taken to
identify the number people who have been wrongly charged for
personal care, writes Derren Hayes.
Giving evidence to the health select committee’s inquiry
into palliative care last week, Ladyman said he had asked the
Department of Health to investigate the reasons why the March 31
deadline for strategic health authorities to complete the review of
cases had been missed.
However, in an exclusive interview with Community Care Ladyman
pledged to complete the reviews before the Parliamentary summer
recess on 22 July. He also said the compensation bill was likely to
be closer to the Department of Health’s predicted figure of
£300m than much higher figures rumoured earlier in the
Ladyman said he’d been told the primary reason for the
delays was that more people had come forward asking to be assessed
than SHAs had expected.
“A lot of people came forward and said ‘that might
be me too’. I acknowledge the fact that the reviews have not
gone as fast as we’d wanted but we couldn’t predict the
quantity of people,” he added.
The reimbursement was prompted after the health service
ombudsman ruled last year that the NHS should pay to provide
continuing care for people suffering from certain conditions. It is
believed thousands of people have been assessed and hundreds denied
free care between 1996 and 2002.