Anger over OAP care blunder

A COUPLE claim they have been left “totally wrecked” after health chiefs told them their 89-year-old mother would get fully-funded NHS care only to learn the next day she would not.

Laurence Cawley

A COUPLE claim they have been left “totally wrecked” after health chiefs told them their 89-year-old mother would get fully-funded NHS care only to learn the next day she would not.

West Suffolk MP Richard Spring has been left so incensed by the blunder by the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) that he has accused the organisation of “sheer incompetence”.

Daphne Humphreys is doubly incontinent, requires to people to hoist her and is suffering with dementia in her current home at Cathpole Court in Sudbury.


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Her daughter and son-in-law Carole and Glyn Northrop, of Haverhill, have been fighting to get her care funded by the NHS.

Last week, they were overjoyed when they received a letter from the East of England Strategic Health Authority's chief executive Sir Neil McKay telling them “the decision of the Independent Review Panel was that Mrs Humphreys did meet the eligibility criteria for NHS funded continuing care”.

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The decision meant Mrs Humphreys would not have to sell her home to pay for her medical care.

But the very next day the Northrops received a letter from NHS Suffolk saying Mrs Humphreys was “not eligible” for fully-funded NHS care. And when the Northrops contacted the SHA, they were told their original letter was wrong.

Mr Northrop said: “This was a monumental decision - we've had nearly three years of problems with this. When we got the letter we were so pleased because this was what we had been fighting for. And then we got the letter from the PCT. It has totally wrecked us. And to have got it so wrong after all the agony we have been through - it is just not on.”

Mr Spring has written to Sir Neil claiming “this episode is absolutely disgraceful”.

He said: “Mr and Mrs Northrop have been through the most appalling stress and anxiety about the care arrangements for Mrs Humphreys, irrespective of whether their assertions about her care needs are correct.

“I find it beyond the incredible that you wrote to the Northrops to indicate that the eligibility criteria had been met, only for this to be countermanded the next day by Suffolk PCT.

“This bureaucratic bungling is in the highest order of insensitivity, and I am outraged, as the local Member of Parliament, at the sheer incompetence with which this matter has been handled.”

In a letter to the Northrops, Mark Cooke, lead for NHS continuing healthcare at NHS Suffolk, said although Mrs Humphrey was not eligible for fully-funded healthcare, she was entitled to �106.30 per week for nursing care at Catchpole Court.

No one was available for comment at the SHA yesterday.

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