Help the Aged has responded to news that the Department of health has been forced to pay £180m in compensation after incorrectly charging people for nursing care. The claims relate to the way different public authorities charged for care needed because of illness, disability and continuing NHS treatment.

Some patients charged for long-term nursing and social care from 1996 to 2004 have been able to have their cases reviewed if they feel they were overcharged. This has led to over 13,000 claims and 2,000 pay-outs, costing £180m.

Mervyn Kohler of Help the Aged said:

'The whole system of continuing care has been a terrible mess.

'People are being forced to navigate their way through a confusing and inaccessible system of funding, at a time when a tangle of red tape is the last thing they need.

'This is why it is so pleasing to see people getting their money back.

'But it doesn't hide the fact that there are still many inconsistencies in practices - and for many, these payments will have come too late.

'The Government must bring about radical change, to transform our ailing social care system into one that is personalised, easy to understand, accessible and properly funded.

'Help the Aged is a member of the Right care, Right deal campaign. Alongside Counsel & Care and Carers UK, we are working to garner support and raise awareness of the crucial need for a new system of social care in England, with the needs and wishes of the individual at the very heart.'

Notes

Right care, Right deal' is the new national campaign launched to build public awareness and support for the need for brave and innovative solutions for the social care system. With the Government indicating that social care is an urgent political priority, and in advance of the expected green paper later in 2008, the campaign combines three of the UK's largest charities working with and for older people and their families and carers, and will urge the government to renew its vision for the future of social care in England. Visit rightcare

Help the Aged is the charity fighting to free disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas from poverty, isolation, neglect and ageism. It campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues affecting older people and to bring about policy change. The Charity delivers a range of services: information and advice, home support and community living, including international development work. These are supported by its paid-for services and fundraising activities - which aim to increase funding in the future to respond to the growing unmet needs of disadvantaged older people. Help the Aged also funds vital research into the health issues and experiences of older people to improve the quality of later life.

Help the Aged urgently needs donations and support to help it in the increasingly challenging fight to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect.

Help the Aged

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