Savings blow to elderly couple

THOMAS Biss has worked hard all his life in a modest job, lives in a council house and saved hard to give money to his family when he died.But the 89-year-old will no longer have any money to give to his family as he is having to pay a massive £637 a week for his wife's care in an Ipswich nursing home.

THOMAS Biss has worked hard all his life in a modest job, lives in a council house and saved hard to give money to his family when he died.

But the 89-year-old will no longer have any money to give to his family as he is having to pay a massive £637 a week for his wife's care in an Ipswich nursing home.

Daisy, 91, has Alzheimer's. She cannot stay at home any longer because her condition is now so severe but there are no council or NHS run homes that can care for her with her condition.

Today a spokeswoman from Suffolk County Council said that if Mr Biss had been on benefits or had not been able to afford the health care he would not be in the situation he is in today.

Now Mr Biss and his son Russell, both of Pintail Close, Ipswich are furious at the lack of choice they have been given over Daisy's care.

They know the care she is getting at the BUPA run Anglesea Heights is good and would want nothing more for her but are angry that there was nowhere else for her to go.

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They did look at another home in the town but claimed it was so overcrowded they could not bear to think of her there so had to opt for the only other choice of the BUPA home.

The NHS was developed 56 years ago offering people like Mr Biss and his family a brand new dawn in healthcare. But now, in the twilight of their years the system has failed them.

How much of the nursing home fees families have to pay are worked out by means testing.

Mr Biss had to declare his life savings, made up of money he had saved and inheritance from his wife's sister and now they have almost run out.

The couple had planned to leave the money to their son and daughter.

When his savings reduce down to a certain amount Government money will be added to top them up, but to Mr Biss it is no longer anything to do with the money, it is the priniciple.

He said: "I was never out of work in my life. I paid all my taxes and stamps but when it comes to wanting something back it is not here.

"It is just the lack of choice. If we had a choice we would not have come out of the NHS but there is just no establishment that can care for her.

"It was either put her in a private home or put her on the streets."

Mr Biss and his wife have been married for 70 years. They lived in a council house in Fletcher Road for 50 years before moving to Pintail close a few years ago.

Mr Biss worked for 25 years for an oil company in Landseer Road before retiring.

Mrs Biss was first diagnosed with Alzheimers in September last year and spent time in Minsmere House at Ipswich Hospital before being moved to St Clements where she stayed for several months.

Mr Biss's son Russell said: "When she left St Clements they said she needed 24 hour care and was classed as EMI (elderly and mentally infirm).

"Then you move into a home and you have to go private. That is my biggest gripe."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Social Services said: "We have 60 residential homes in the county but none of these are nursing homes which is what Mr Biss would need for his wife.

"If people need nursing care we do an assessment and assist them financially if it means they cannot pay for the care themselves.

"We would pay a contribution towards a private nursing home. If Mr Biss did not have the funds to pay himself then the County Council would assist him financially."

She said usually people would pay a certain amount out of their benefits and the county council would pay the difference at a home that they had a contract with which would be less than the amount Mr Biss was paying at the moment.

A spokeswoman for BUPA said that the weekly amount paid for 24 hour nursing care, food and personal care such as cleaning and laundry services.

Is it right that people who have saved all their life should have to pay for care in their twilight years? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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