Lords force authorities to repay £11.6m in mental health aftercare charges

    Social services authorities have identified and reimbursed 829
    people who were charged in error for their mental health aftercare
    since July 2002, writes Clare

    In July 2002, the House of Lords ruled that local authorities
    should pay for the aftercare of psychiatric patients following
    their discharge from compulsory detention in hospital.

    The following July, the local government ombudsman produced a
    special report urging social services authorities not to wait for
    people to come forward and claim back what they had paid, but to
    seek out those who had paid and reimburse them.

    This week in its annual report, the ombudsman said it had carried
    out a survey of 101 of the 150 SSAs and it emerged that repayments
    from a few thousand pounds up to £294,000 in one case had been
    made. Reimbursements so far total £11.6m.

    “At least 2,371 more people are likely to be due restitution,
    and the total liability for which these 101 authorities are
    budgeting is more than £45m,” the report says. The
    ombudsman anticipates that around £75m is likely to be repaid
    in total.

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