Legal guide to your right to reclaim care home fees
NHS Healthcare provision in the UK is free and financed out of general taxation. Nevertheless thousands of people in care homes have had their homes and their savings used up to pay their care home fees.
This seems very unfair since in most cases they were only in the care home in the first place because of their health needs.
A landmark Court of Appeal case in 1999 established that where a person’s primary need is for healthcare, and that is the reason they were placed in a care home, the NHS is responsible for the care home fees.
The court case centred around a former art teacher, Pamela Coughlan, who had been paralysed as the result of a car accident. She was living in an NHS institution, Mardon House, in Devon which the health authority wanted to close. Pamela Coughlan faced the prospect of responsibility for her care being transferred from the NHS to the local authority. The case drew a distinction between the extent of the “social care” that local councils provide, which by law is means-tested, and the “health care” which the NHS should provide, free of charge, whatever the setting.
The Coughlan judgement confirmed that if the patient’s need for medical or nursing care was “incidental to,” or “ancillary to” their need for accommodation in a care home then their care could be the responsibility of the local council, and means-tested.
However, if wasn’t, and the patient’s primary need was a health need, then all their care was the responsibility of the NHS, and had to be provided free. That has become known as the “Coughlan test.”
Now residents in care homes who pass the “Coughlan test” should be entitled to receive fully-funded NHS Continuing Healthcare. Furthermore, anyone who satisfies the test is entitled to reclaim the costs that have been privately paid for that care.
We deal with care home fees claims on a no win, no fee basis. We have offices throughout Devon and Somerset so can provide a local service to people in the south west region. However the service we provide is a national one and we are able to represent claimants nationwide.
So, if you or a loved one have paid out for care and think you may be entitled to reclaim those fees then give us a call and we will assess the merits of your care home fees claim, completely free of charge. And its worth remembering that care home fees can be claimed even when the person is no longer a resident in the home, and even where they are no longer alive.
To find out where you stand with your care home fee refund claim call us on Taunton 01823 354545 or Barnstaple 01271 372128.