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Haslingden dementia patient was overcharged by £90,000
A DEMENTIA sufferer at an East Lancashire care home was overcharged by more than £90,000 over five years by NHS bosses for her care.
Great-grandmother Ada Whittaker, who lived at Turfcote nursing home in Helmshore Road, Haslingden, lived in a state of confusion and agitation which required constant care.
But she was made to pay an average of £1,900 per month by East Lancashire Primary Care Trust (ELPCT) for the service, which continued until her death, aged 89, in March 2009.
Her family has now successfully contested the overpayment and seen the fees reimbursed to her estate.
And lawyers are now warning the families of people who may have been incorrectly billed that they must act quickly - or face losing out on their entitlements.
NHS bosses have imposed a September deadline for compensation claims, which will provide payouts dating back to April 2004.
Her son-in-law John Morgan said: “The only reason my mother-in-law was in a nursing home was because she was very ill and required 24-hour nursing care.”
Mrs Whittaker, a widow, had lived at the home since 2001, but had lived earlier in Hud Hey and Blackburn Road, in Haslingden.
She worked a number of years as a confectioner and was a member of St James’ Parish Church in the town, where she was a former treasurer of the Mothers’ Union.
Lisa Morgan, of Hugh James Solicitors, which took on her case, said: “Families like Mrs Whittaker’s need to be aware of this deadline. It is important that they take steps now so that they don’t miss out.”
Mrs Whittaker’s family had initially been told that because of her capital and savings, she would have to meet the care home fees.
But solicitors established that the widow, who was also diabetic, qualified for ‘continuing healthcare’ and the charges should have been waived.
A spokesman for ELPCT said the organisation could not comment on individual cases, for confidentiality reasons, but followed a national NHS framework for continuing healthcare.
She added: “The framework recognises that occasionally there may be instances where cases should be re-visited to establish if the original decision was correct or not.
“In these cases the patient or their representative has the right to contest the PCT’s decision.
“If it is found that continuing healthcare should have been awarded then the patient or family will be reimbursed for the fees they have incurred.”