Nottingham Professor Sued Over Unpaid Care Fees

An eminent professor has been sued by his care home in a row over his treatment. The owners of Silverwood Nursing Home in Beeston took Professor Paul Newbold to court for not paying thousands of pounds of fees.

However, the 62-year-old multiple sclerosis sufferer lodged a counter-claim, saying his care had been sub-standard.

According to the home’s own records, he was only given 17 baths in six months.

But a district judge at Nottingham County Court dismissed Prof Newbold’s case and ordered him to pay £3,700.

The court heard how Prof Newbold, a retired economics professor at the University of Nottingham, arrived at the nursing home in late 2004 for a month’s respite care. His wife Alice, who suffers from ME or chronic fatigue, was travelling to the US for treatment and Prof Newbold could not cope on his own.

But Hazel Upton, the home’s administration manager, said Mrs Newbold did not return after the month and the home could not contact her as she had not left a telephone number in the US.

Mrs Upton said: “Fees were almost £4,000 owing, Paul felt very uncomfortable with that.”

She said Prof Newbold did not know how to contact his wife, and so signed a cheque for the amount owed. He also signed a contract changing his terms from temporary to permanent.

Mrs Upton said she offered to read the contract to Prof Newbold, but he was insistent that he could understand it and wanted to sign it.

Manager Rosemary Saunders said Prof Newbold was still going to university in the week but had become “depressed” and “lost weight” because he did not know when his wife was coming home. She said staff could not force him to have baths and had done their best to encourage him.

Prof Newbold was too ill to attend the case. But Mrs Newbold, on behalf of her husband, told the court staff should have tried harder to encourage him to keep clean, and made more effort to contact her.

She returned home to Keyworth in February 2005, and said Prof Newbold was often unclean, had been given the wrong medicine dose, and had not been given proper physio.

She said he was not capable of signing a contract as he had problems seeing.

District Judge Brian Oliver upheld the home’s case against Prof Newbold, ordering him to pay £3,433 for the fees, £53 interest, £100 allocation fee and court costs of £120.

He dismissed Prof Newbold’s case against the home, saying there was not enough evidence to back up the claims.