Full audit needed to discover full extent of patients wrongly charged for care

13 Jun 2013

Ruth Davidson MSP

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has challenged Alex Salmond to carry out a full audit into how many critically ill patients have been wrongly charged for their care.

The First Minister was today unable to say how many people and their families have been forced to pay thousands of pounds for an entitlement which should have been free under NHS Continuing Health Care.

There are fears that thousands of people of all ages – with complex conditions such as Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease – were told they had no choice but to pay the costs of their nursing home accommodation.

Figures show the number of patients having these care costs supported fell by almost 27% over a three year period in Scotland.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said this morning that those affected would be “appropriately reimbursed”.

However, when challenged by Ruth, the First Minister was unable to say how many sufferers are affected and what the total compensation bill would be.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said:

“The truth is the Scottish Government has absolutely no idea how many people with complex care needs have wrongly been charged for their care.

“Let’s be clear here, this issue is nothing to do with people receiving free personal care – it’s about people of all ages with serious conditions such as Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease being denied funding for the care they’re entitled to.

“Unless Alex Salmond gets a grip on this issue, he will have no idea how much compensation will have to be handed back to sufferers and their families.

“Some people have even reported being forced to sell their home in order to find the thousands needed to pay nursing home accommodation costs.

“With fears that thousands of other people have been put in a similar position, a full and transparent audit of Scotland’s health boards is the only way forward.

“The Scottish Government has a responsibility to ensure some of the most vulnerable and desperately ill people are fully reimbursed for being denied the support to which they are entitled.”



See the table below where the number of patients receiving NHS Continuing Health Care has dropped from 2,731 in 2009 to 2,006 in 2012 – a reduction of almost 27%
Table from March 2012 Census: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Health-and-Social-Community-Care/Publications/2012-06-26/CC_mar12_tables.xls#’Table1′!A1
“Let’s get it in perspective; we are talking in total about a few thousand people, but they’re still better off than they would be in England because in England they wouldn’t be getting free personal care at all.”
– Alex Neil (Good Morning Scotland, 13/06/2013)
See the guidance below, which health boards have been ignoring:
Advice for patients and carers
73. It is important that information on assessment, eligibility, decision making processes and appeals should be made available to patients and their carers, who should be actively involved in any decisions. To this end Health Boards should ensure that the eligibility and the assessment process are clearly explained to both the patient and their carer at an early stage. This information should be in an easy to understand format, be written from a patient’s perspective and be available in any form that might be needed – Braille, audio, different languages etc. – and be provided in a timely manner.
NHS Continuing Healthcare Guidance 2008: http://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/mels/CEL2008_06.pdf