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Woolpit woman wins NHS fight

PUBLISHED: 18:17 25 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:02 03 March 2010

A WOOLPIT woman has recorded a landmark victory to recover costs of more than £100,000 after being refused NHS-funded nursing care.

Marjorie Baxter, 83, of Briar Hill, should not have been forced to pay private nursing home fees totalling £111,650 over a period of five years, it has been ruled.

A WOOLPIT woman has recorded a landmark victory to recover costs of more than £100,000 after being refused NHS-funded nursing care.

Marjorie Baxter, 83, of Briar Hill, should not have been forced to pay private nursing home fees totalling £111,650 over a period of five years, it has been ruled.

The case was one of 77 investigations published today by the health service ombudsman. It could open the floodgates to a torrent of claims for compensation from other patients refused NHS care across the region.

Mrs Baxter, a retired health service administrator, is one of an estimated 500,000 people suffering from the degenerative brain condition, Alzheimer's Disease.

Her daughter, Brenda Baxter, said: "We're delighted with the ombudsman's decision. The way we've been treated is quite outrageous. The authority made it so restrictive that was almost impossible to be eligible for NHS care."

Mrs Baxter was initially offered a bed at an NHS unit in Bury St Edmunds after an assessment of her treatment needs found she was entitled to free long-term care.

However, a second assessment was then conducted when her family requested she be placed in Stowmarket and they were informed she would have to pay.

Husband, Major Baxter, also 83, and the couple's three children sought legal advice before lodging an official complaint to the ombudsman, which was upheld.

Mrs Baxter's case follows her admittance to Chilton Meadows nursing home in Stowmarket in May 1998 after breaking her hip in a fall.

Previously a keen rambler, the injury left her unable to walk, incontinent and totally dependent on nurses to feed, bathe and dress her.

The victory has been welcomed by the Alzheimer's Society, who said NHS-funded continuing care placements are "like gold dust".

A spokesman for Central Suffolk Primary Care Trust declined to comment.

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