Family anger over funding axe for war veteran

An outraged family of a war veteran, suffering from dementia, are today putting up a fight after the NHS decided against fully funding his care.

IPSWICH: An outraged family of a war veteran, suffering from dementia, are today putting up a fight after the NHS decided against fully funding his care.

Robert Southgate, 47, has been involved in a lengthy battle with health bosses over the funding of free continuing care for his sick father, 86-year-old Harry, who is currently staying at Anglesea Heights nursing home, Ipswich.

Despite NHS Suffolk agreeing to fully pay for his care in January this year, his case has now been reassessed and it has been concluded he is no longer eligible for this as his needs are judged to be 'social' and not 'health'.

However Robert claims his father's health needs have got worse, and is refusing to pay for the care because he believes NHS Suffolk has not been fair. To add insult to injury, the family's refusal to pay �925 a week for his care means his father's space at Anglesea Heights nursing home is now under threat.

Robert, who lives in Hertfordshire, said: “He [Harry] has a terminal degenerative illness of the brain which is incurable and will only worsen.

“This illness of the brain is a primary health need and it impacts on every aspect of his daily life. They are trying to say my father's needs are now social needs but his health has worsened.

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“NHS Suffolk are now trying write off this terminal illness as a social condition in a pathetic attempt to avoid their legal responsibilities under the National Health Service Act of 1946.”

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk said: “NHS Continuing Healthcare is a package of care which is arranged and funded wholly by the NHS for individuals outside of hospital who have ongoing healthcare needs. NHS Continuing Healthcare is not given due to a person having a particular disease or diagnosis; it is given where their overall needs are primarily health related.”

Oliver Thomas, regional director for Bupa care homes, on behalf of Anglesea Heights nursing home, said: “We were told in October by Suffolk PCT that they would no longer pay for Mr Southgate's care. As he is cared for in a section reserved for PCT patients, we immediately offered his family an alternative room.

“Unfortunately, Mr Southgate's family are unwillingly to pay for his care, so it is with great sadness that we have had no option but to ask them to find an alternative. We will do everything we can to support the family in finding new accommodation.”

Have you had a similar problem with getting fully funded continuing care? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.