Trust Repays Nursing Home Fees Of £50,000

A man who was forced to sell his mother’s home to pay for her nursing-home care yesterday won back more than £50,000 from a health trust in a landmark case. Mike Pearce sold his mother Ruby’s home to meet bills so she could receive round-the-clock care after she was diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s.

She was judged ineligible for care on the NHS despite her condition worsening until she was incapable of doing anything for herself but chew food and swallow.

Mrs Pearce died two years ago aged 84 but her son, a former detective in the Flying Squad, has fought to have the nursing home fees returned, arguing her condition was so severe that her care should to be funded by the NHS. Torbay Care Trust in Devon yesterday confirmed Mr Pearce, 60, would be paid back the fees.

The Alzheimer’s Society welcomed the victory and said it could pave the way for many other families to claw back fees they have had to pay for relatives.

Thousands of people have been forced to sell property to pay for long-term care because it has been ruled that their relatives do not qualify for NHS funding. The government has already tried to tackle the problem by producing a new draft framework on how health chiefs should decide who is eligible for funding.

Consultation on the draft is continuing but Mr Pearce is believed to be the first to have used the criteria set out in the framework to successfully argue that the NHS was liable for a relative’s care bill.

Mr Pearce, who is now a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It was never about the money – it was the principle I was fighting for. I hope this will give many others who are in my position the inspiration to fight for their rights.”