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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