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27th October 2009

Warning on continuing care compensation deadline

Families in Wales forced to sell their loved ones’ homes to help pay for care home fees that should have been funded by the NHS have been warned to get their compensation claims in soon.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Peter Black yesterday hit out at the lack of publicity about the Welsh Assembly Government's approaching December 4 deadline.

Those affected are people whose relatives were placed in a care home – whether a nursing home or residential home – because they needed continuing medical care.

Peter Black said: “Anybody who leaves hospital should receive a continuing care assessment, which establishes their nursing and personal care needs. Any nursing care needs identified by this assessment should be paid for by the NHS.

“Members of the family are entitled to be present at this assessment. The problem is that most do not know about this and are preoccupied by other matters. Often these assessments do not take place.

“The NHS is responsible for paying for nursing care, and councils often pick up the bill for social and personal care. So the outcomes of these assessments can often be significant in determining who pays.

“What is missing here is clarity. It seems to me that there is no clearly-understood definition of nursing care and personal care,” he added.

The Court of Appeal made a judgement in 1999 stating that anyone whose main need for a care home place was based on their medical needs should not have to make any contribution towards the cost of their health care. Instead, the court ruled, this should be paid for by the NHS.

It is understood there are already nearly 900 outstanding claims in Wales alone, and more are expected to come forward by the December 4 deadline.

The Welsh Assembly Government said the relevant bodies (responsible for making known the deadline) were told of the deadline in August

The deadline for restrospective claims is for the period April 1, 1996 to March 31, 2003. Claims relating to later periods are unaffected and should be directed to your Local Health Board.

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