Minister pledges action on reviews

Community care minister Stephen Ladyman has said he is embarrassed
by the time it has taken to identify the number of people who have
been wrongly charged for personal care.

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 why the 31 March deadline for strategic
health authorities to review cases had been missed.

In an exclusive interview with Community Care, Ladyman
pledged to complete the reviews before parliament’s recess on 22
July. He also said the compensation bill was likely to be close to
the Department of Health’s predicted figure of £300m.

He said the reason for the delays was that more people had come
forward asking to be assessed than had been expected.

The reimbursement was prompted after the health service ombudsman
ruled last year that the NHS should pay for continuing care for
people suffering from certain conditions. It is believed hundreds
were denied free care between 1996 and 2002.

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