A PENSIONER who had to take out a large mortgage to pay for his wife’s residential care has won his bid to get a refund of more than £54,000.
William Richardson has been successful in his application against South Tyneside Primary Care Trust (PCT) to claim back the money he was forced to fork out for care for his wife, Kathleen, who died in March 2008, aged 84.
Kathleen, a retired teacher, had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and other illnesses for which she had received round-the-clock care from her husband for more than seven years.
But due to his own failing health, William, 84, was unable to continue to provide support and his wife was placed in a home in South Shields, before moving to a different home in Hebburn, South Tyneside.
The grandfather-of-10 was charged for both the residential and healthcare needs of his wife. To pay for this he had to take out a large mortgage on his home, causing him distress and anxiety as he had no income other than his pension.
But solicitor Danny Richardson, one of the couple’s four sons, successfully argued that the law says if the reason you are at a care home is primarily for health care issues then the residential costs should be borne by the state and it had been wrong to charge his father for this.
Last night, William said he was relieved to be reimbursed and was reinvesting the money into his home to pay off his mortgage.
The retired workshop manager, of Jarrow, said: “My main concern was to make sue my wife had somewhere nice to stay and I was determined to make sure I was able to fund the care she needed. As a result I took out a large mortgage to pay for her care, which was a financial worry.
“My wife and I had paid our National Insurance all our lives and I felt we had been let down by the health service. Fortunately, I have good friends and a good family.
“But I feel a bit cold about the whole thing. I’ve all this money but I don’t have my wife to share it with.”
Danny, Senior Partner of Richardson and Co Solicitors LLP based in Leeds and York, said: “My mother suffered from very severe health problems that required round the clock care and it was very distressing for us all when she had to go into a home.
“This was made worse when my father was forced to take out a large mortgage to pay for the care she received and we are pleased that the South Tyneside PCT have recompensed by father for costs he should not have been required to pay.
“I recognise this is a situation that is being faced by an increasing number of people who may feel they have been charged for services which should have been covered by the NHS”.
A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Primary Care Trust said: “Each individual patient is assessed by the PCT against national criteria for funded healthcare.
“There is, however, a robust process if a patient’s family feels their relative’s condition has changed or if they are unhappy with the original decision and we do all we can to support them through this process. In the case of Kathleen Richardson, we conducted a retrospective review and, as result, we have refunded the money with interest”.