Care Review Bureau - News

NHS Continuing Healthcare Refunds: interest payments cost the NHS millions of pounds

July 25th, 2016 | CRB article

The Care Review Bureau re-visit the interest payment situation 2 years on from their last report

January 2014 saw the Care Review Bureau report on the worrying situation of Continuing Healthcare refunds and associated interest payments costing the NHS millions of pounds.  In a recent review of the situation the Care Review Bureau found that, two years on, little has changed.

The Care Review Bureau has long reported on the situation of wrongly paid NHS Continuing Healthcare fees and the struggle since 2004 for families to receive their refunds.  It is estimated that there are still in the region of 60,000 cases still to be reviewed by the NHS.

‘Even after lengthy battles with the NHS, which can take many years to get them to agree to refund fees to a patient, I’m sorry to say that’s not always the end of the story’ said Darren Loud, general manager of the Care Review Bureau ‘the NHS can take months to pay back the patient and the longer they take the more interest they have to pay.’

Families who have successfully claimed back care fees from the NHS are receiving late payments which then include added interest because of unnecessary clerical delays.  Hannah Kane, claims manager for the Care Review Bureau revealed ‘we recently had a successful case whereby the NHS refunded a client who was wrongfully forced to sell their home to pay for care.  In addition to the repayment the NHS had to fund an additional £17,000 for interest due to the length of time it took them to arrange the refund.  This is by no means an isolated situation’.

Since the Care Review Bureau opened its doors in 2010 it has helped many families reclaim wrongly paid care fees. In reviewing the records of its successful cases the Care Review Bureau can report that the NHS has had to pay out over £203,000 in interest payments alone.

There are many other organisations throughout the UK handling Continuing Healthcare refund claims representing the estimated 60,000 patients and families who have unlawfully paid for care.  ‘If all of the Continuing Healthcare claims come to fruition they will all be subject to interest depending on how long it takes for the NHS to complete the payment process. This is unnecessary expenditure for the NHS.  Can you imagine what the struggling NHS could do with these extra millions of pounds?’ said Grant Hardy, Managing Director of the Care Review Bureau

Estimates vary wildly as to the full and final cost to the NHS of wrongfully charged Continuing Healthcare costs. By trying to avoid its responsibilities of lawfully paying for patient care the NHS has created a monster; having to recruit hundreds of extra staff to deal with Continuing Healthcare claims; dealing with the administrative burden of the complaints process; regular interventions of NHS England and the PHSO; paying interest on refunds. By 2017 when all retrospective cases should have been settled, the final cost to the NHS could reach a staggering £1Billion!

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