BLACKBURN MP Kate Hollern has taken up the case of a woman fighting NHS red tape to keep her elderly parents together.

Her intervention came as health bosses indicated they may find a nursing home to avoid John and Marjorie Smith being split up after more than 65 years of marriage.

The couple's daughter Jill Manley was told yesterday that there is a chance they could be accommodated in the same place because of NHS rules and regulations over care provision it pays for.

The couple, who suffer from dementia, had been living in the same room at the Ravenswing Manor Care Home in Blackburn since December 2014 until 93-year-old Mr Smith had a stroke, leaving him unable to swallow and needing to be fed by a nasal tube.

Last week, Mrs Manley was told her father would have to go to a nursing home in Bolton, 15 miles from her mother, 87. This would leave Mrs Smith unable to see her husband daily, causing them "bewilderment and distress".

Health-service bosses, who agreed to pay for Mr Smith's care, said their differing needs and shortage of suitable nursing homes made it impossible to keep the couple together.

Following the intervention of the Lancashire Telegraph, a new potential option of a dual-registered nursing and residential home, near Ravenswing, which could eventually care for them both, has been proposed, if and when rooms become available.

Mrs Hollern said: “I am extremely concerned at the distress this situation is causing to Mr and Mrs Smith and their family and I have taken up the matter with the authorities.

“Medical professionals have a duty to ensure that any person receives care that is appropriate to their condition."

Vicky Shepherd, boss of Age UK Blackburn with Darwen, said: “We would encourage all parties involved to continue to seek a solution which enables all the needs of both Mr and Mrs Smith to be met and to support the family at this difficult and distressing time.”

Mrs Manley said: “I have been contacted by the NHS holding out the possibility of an alternative care home for my father. This home is dual-registered for nursing, for my father John, and dementia residential, for my mother Marjorie. The person I spoke to said mum would be able to go to visit dad in a taxi from Ravenswing Manor, 10 minutes maximum, and then move there if she wanted to. I cannot thank the Lancashire Telegraph enough for their intervention.”

A spokesman for the Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group, which has agreed to pay for Mr Smith’s specialist care, said: “We are endeavouring to do all we can to resolve the situation."