£117,000 for wrongly paid care home costs NHS should have funded

A HALEWOOD family was repaid £117,000 after being wrongly charged care home fees. Evangeline McConnell, 88, was refused NHS funding for care at two Merseyside nursing homes.

But her family, from Halewood, fought the decision for seven years.

The former auxiliary nurse from Aigburth died last Thursday, just days after the victory.

Mrs McConnell suffered a severe stroke in October 2002 and was admitted to the Royal Albert Edward Hospital in Wigan, where she lived after retirement.

Her family were told that she could not return home as she required 24-hour nursing care.

She was then admitted to the Arncliffe Court Nursing Home in Halewood, to be close to her son, Phil, in April, and then moved to St Bartholomews Court in Huyton.

Mr McConnell was told by health chiefs they would have to sell his mothers house to pay for the care, as she did not qualify for NHS continuing care. It therefore fell under social services, which is means tested.

Mr McConnell said: The only reason my mother needed to go into a nursing home was because she was very ill and required 24-hour nursing care.

I was aware of NHS Continuing Healthcare and asked the hospital to assess my mother.

I was shocked when they said she did not meet the criteria.

Mrs McConnell was immobile, incontinent and unable to communicate and swallow as a result of her stroke.

Lawyers from Welsh law firm Hugh James took up the case.

Mr McConnell said: “The system is so complex but I was determined to challenge their previous decision. They put so many obstacles in our way.”

Lisa Morgan, Partner at Hugh James added: “Thousands of people across England and Wales are being wrongly charged for nursing care and in many cases, they are forced to sell their family home to pay.”

A Department of Health Spokesperson said: “Primary Care Trusts have a legal duty to ensure that continuing healthcare decisions follow the National Framework published by the Department.”

A record number of people are now in receipt of CHC, the number has increase by 92% since the introduction of the Framework in 2007.