Too few know nursing care reviews will be stopped: Iniquitas
Patients or their families who were forced to sell their homes to fund nursing care fees will no longer be allowed to claim refunds from September, a specialist in recouping nursing fees has claimed.
Andrew Hayhurst, director for Lancashire-based Iniquitas Care, which specialises in recouping nursing care fees from English primary care trusts, warned that thousands of people could miss out on refunds unless they act soon.
Under current regulations, patients admitted to long-term nursing care are means-tested, and in certain circumstances have to contribute to the cost of their care.
Mr Hayhurst said that PCTs the length of the country did not use the same assessment criteria, leading to a “post code lottery”, and that many who claim refunds can recoup the fees.
However, the current assessment and decision making process is set to be handed over to clinical commissioning groups from April 2013. In March this year, the department of health published a directive that laid out new regulations on claiming refunds, with any claims on cases between 1 April 2004 and 31 March 2012, not considered after 30 September this year.
Mr Hayhurst said: “This news is especially important to the adviser industry and their clients, who may not be aware that there is an appeals process to recoup NHS continuing healthcare funding.
“When a patient is admitted to long-term care the PCT makes a decision if it can fund that patient or whether the patient has enough assets to fund it themselves.
“This often leads to the patient or their family having to sell assets, such as homes, to fund the care, but these decisions can, in many circumstances, be overturned. The retrospective reviews will be stopped in just a few months, which means people should act now. I know of a solicitor firm which has recouped more than £20m in fees for clients over the past few years, with an average claim of £60,000.
“Anyone who has had a payout on impaired life cover could also be eligible; it is just a case of putting a claim in and asking for a review.”
However, Steve Crapper, owner of Sheffield-based IFA Carr Forge FS, said: “I’m seeing if any of my client base is affected by this. But I think it stinks that this directive hasn’t been advertised in any substantial way.
“The government is doing the minimum really in terms of publicising the changes to the compensation process. It is a short lead-in time as well so not only does no-one know they can claim money back but they wont have any time to claim.”