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11th July 2014

Row over 'under-publicised' deadline for continuing healthcare claims

The charity Age Cymru has criticised the Welsh Government saying it has not adequately publicised the deadline for backdated claims over wrongly paid care home fees.

The claims are over nursing home fees paid by families which should have been covered by the NHS on 'continuing healthcare' grounds. The charity fears many families are likely to miss out as the deadline for claims approaches on July 31.

However the Welsh Government says it has "proactively published" the deadline as well as new guidance issued on July 1.

People who paid for nursing care between 1 April 2003 and 31 July 2013 - in some instances families were forced to sell an elderly relative's home to pay for care which should have been funded under CHC rules - have until the end of this month register their intent to appeal and then until 31 December complete and submit their documentation.

Age Cymru's head of policy and public affairs, Graeme Francis, said: "I don't think there's been a huge amount of pro-active publicity given about this deadline. I think that's wrong because people need to have the right information and need to know whether they can apply or they might miss the opportunity."

The Welsh government denied failing to alert people to the limited time left to claim refunds.

"We wrote to a range of bodies throughout the health, local government, user groups and the independent sector - including Age Cymru - announcing to them the new arrangements." a spokesperson said.

"Local health boards worked with their own communications teams to distribute these materials. Welsh government has placed adverts in 12 newspapers across Wales."

The CHC claims process will affect many care providers who will can be asked to provide evidence about residents or former residents going back to 2003 in support of claims by family members or relatives.

Care Forum Wales chair Mario Kreft said: "We'd like to remind care home owners of their obligations to provide information when contacted about CHC claims. However if you need to do this you may make reasonable charges for copying."

Who is eligible for NHS help with care costs?

The NHS is responsible for paying the fees for people who receive care primarily for health reasons, regardless of the person's financial circumstances or whether the care was in a nursing home or in their own home.


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