South Tyneside Council’s £300 payout over care funding complaint

Council bosses offered a £300 payout to a family over ‘distress’ caused by their fight to secure funding for their father’s care.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 8th March 2019, 4:01 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 4:03 pm
South Shields Town Hall
South Shields Town Hall

The cash and subsequent apology followed South Tyneside Council’s admission it should should have given more consideration to whether to pay care home bills.

According to an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Mr Y, as he is referred to in the report, went into hospital in 2016 and when he was discharged was sent to a residential home.

At the time, his family were told they would have to contribute towards costs.

However, about a year later, Mr Y’s son - referred to as Mr X - discovered his father was eligible for ‘continuing healthcare’ (CHC) funding.

As a result, the NHS picked up the care bill from September 2017 to March 2018, when Mr Y died.

According to the Ombudsman report: “Mr X contacted the council alleging it failed to consider whether Mr Y should have been assessed for CHC funding when he discharged from hospital in 2016.

“Mr X found the council did not have a copy of Mr Y’s CHC checklist.

“Mr X applied to the local CCG [clinical commissioning group] for a retrospective review of whether Mr Y was eligible for CHC funding from September 2016.”

Mr X also alleged the ‘loss’ of his father’s documentation was a breach of data protection rules and has taken the issue to the Information Commissioner.

The council has offered a £300 payout in recognition of ‘the distress caused and his time and trouble in pursuing his complaints’.

According to the report, Mr X does not consider this enough, but the Ombudsman has called it acceptable and also noted he will be able to receive CHC funding retrospectively.

A council spokeswoman said: “We have apologised to Mr X and offered a payment for any distress caused.

“Since this case, the council has taken steps to ensure that eligibility for CHC funding is always considered where there appears to be a need for such care.

“We are committed to ensuring our staff have the appropriate training and skills to deliver the standards of practice required.

“The alleged breach of data related to a document which was referred to in case notes, but which could not be found within the Council’s records.

“There was no evidence this had been shared inappropriately with any third parties.” 

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service