DoH struggles to review cases of people wrongly charged for personal care

    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
    year.

    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.

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