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Pensioner's fury at 28% care bill hike

PUBLISHED: 06:42 04 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:15 24 February 2010

By Liz Hearnshaw

A FURIOUS pensioner has criticised social service bosses after being told the cost of providing home care for his seriously-ill wife will rise by 28%.

By Liz Hearnshaw

A FURIOUS pensioner has criticised social service bosses after being told the cost of providing home care for his seriously-ill wife will rise by 28%.

Donald Wildbore, 75, whose 79-year-old wife needs extra help from Suffolk County Council twice daily, criticised the increase which will see his hourly care bills rise from £8.96 to £11.50.

The increase come just one day after the East Anglian Daily Times revealed council tax bills in Suffolk could rise by 18% this year - to meet the spiralling cost of social care.

Mr and Mrs Wildbore, who live in Bury St Edmunds, have been asked to meet the full cost of care after returning a means form to the council showing savings in excess of £19,000.

But Mr Wildbore, whose wife suffers from dementia, said his family were being penalised for keeping savings designed to safeguard their future.

“This is an enormous jump and I do not know how the council can justify it. It is an awful lot of money,” said Mr Wildbore.

“It seems those who have been prudent and can afford to pay for care are also meeting the costs for those who can't.

“But care for my wife is my main priority, so I am left with no choice. I'm sure there will be lots of other people in the same boat as myself.”

Mrs Wildbore - whose Christian name has not been disclosed on the wishes of her husband - gets a pension of £48 per week.

From this sum and her savings, she must pay for home care, plus residential home fees for periods when she requires respite care.

Mr Wildbore said: “We need people to come in and change my wife's clothes, wash and dress her.

“I need to increase the number of hours these people visit as people with this illness can be extremely unco-operative. That will leave me facing massive bills every annum.”

He added: “The periods of respite care we pay for could add another £6,000 to our annual bills, which is a double whammy.

“I obviously want the best care for my wife and did not object to paying £8.96 - but I expected this cost to rise by the rate of inflation, not 28%.”

But a spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “This cost is the same as the council pay to buy the care from the private or independent sector.

“The system now more closely reflects people's ability to pay and as a result of the changes we have made, 3,000 more people are likely to pay nothing.

“How much people are asked to pay depends on a detailed assessment of their income and capital, as well as how much care they receive.”

The new charging policies will come into effect in April.

liz.hearnshaw@eadt.co.uk


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