Care Review Bureau - News

Beryl wins fight over care costs

January 18th, 2010 | The Shields Gazette

A DEVOTED wife has won her battle with health bosses over her dementia-stricken husband’s care costs.

Beryl Atkinson was left paying hundreds of pounds a week after the NHS said it would no longer meet the full amount of husband Hector’s care at Willowdene Nursing Home, in Hebburn.

Mrs Atkinson, 68, from South Shields, has spent the last year challenging that decision.

And today she told of her relief after South Tyneside Primary Care Trust agreed to overturn it.

Now gran of one Mrs Atkinson has urged others in similar situations to follow her example.

She said: “It really has been a hard slog, with meetings lasting up to four and a half hours.

“I would urge other people not to just sit back and accept decisions, but fight it and seek a reassessment.

“My husband worked all his life, he was never on the sick. He’d paid into the health service all his working life and just when he needed help in return, he was let down.”

Father-of-two Mr Atkinson, 66, a former marine engineer, can no longer speak, dress himself or recognise his family.

The NHS covered all his health costs after he suffered a fractured hip in November 2007.

But after his condition was further assessed in January last year, a letter was sent to Mrs Atkinson telling her the health service would only pay 103 towards his nursing home fees.

The letter said her husband’s needs were “not of the nature that presents as a rapidly deteriorating condition or requiring the type and level of healthcare management or urgent intervention that, without such interventions, would be placing them at significant health risk.”

Mrs Atkinson then had to meet the shortfall from her husband’s private pension, despite needing that money to make ends meet.

Now she is hoping the costs incurred over the last year will be returned to her.

She added: “I know a lot of older people may feel they can’t face a long battle but they could always call on the support of younger family members or friends.

“There is no guarantee that they will win, every case is different, but they shouldn’t just sit back and accept a decision.”

A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Primary Care Trust said: “We constantly review eligibility for continuing health care funding because circumstances can change. If we find that an individual has met the criteria prior to review then we will backdate funding.

“We appreciate that this is potentially a very stressful time for the people concerned and their families and we endeavour at all times to advise and assist them through the process.”

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