THE son of a 97-year-old woman has made a formal complaint to the health ombudsman in a row over his mother's state care allowance.

John Butterworth says his mother Jean has received no financial contribution towards her nursing care since she moved into a care home in September 2019, resulting in her footing the entire cost for her £1584.23 weekly fees.

Mr Butterworth, who lives in Glasgow, moved his mother to Westerton Care Home in Bearsden to be closer to her family after she was discharged from a hospital near her home in South Lakeland in the Lake District.

In England, it is the responsibility of health trusts to pay personal care and nursing allowances, rather than local authorities as it is in Scotland.

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In this case, NHS Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has the responsibility for her contribution as the sending authority but it has refused saying the 97-year-old was not assessed as requiring nursing care.

The health authority say medical records show that a checklist completed at Westmorland General Hospital shows that Mrs Butterworth did not meet the threshold for progressing to a full assessment for funding and the case was closed by Cumbria County Council.

The letter states:  "In a situation like this where the CCG has not determined that your mother is eligible for any NHS funded care and there is no involvement from either the CCG or the local authority in arranging the placement there would no responsibility for the CCG to make any contribution to your mother’s care costs." 

Mr Butterworth is advised to "approach the Scottish authorities to look at whether your mother qualifies for any financial help with the cost of her care".

Mr Butterworth, who moved to Scotland in 1985 to work as a gardener at Auchinleck estate in East Ayrshire, has appealed the decision, with a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in England.

He believes there is 'overwhelming' evidence in his mother's medical notes that she requires nursing care and says it is a failure on the part of the health authority that a proper assessment was not carried out prior to her discharge from hospital.

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He said his complaint has the backing of his constituency MP Patrick Grady and Tim Farron in Cumbria.

He said: "When there is a cross border move, it is the responsibility of the sending authority.

"We are essentially self-funding, but our conviction is that she is entitled to the (relatively modest) Funded Nursing Care allowance, as she clearly required nursing care. This is obvious from hospital records.

"They are saying that she did not have a routine assessment meeting, and our response is 'why were we not told this at the time, and why, since they had two weeks in which to do it before she was moved, was it not done ? There has been a deliberate attempt to avoid responsibility throughout.

"I'm confident that the Ombudsman will rule in our favour. The evidence that she needed nursing care is overwhelming and the responsibility is clearly on Morecambe Bay to do that."

The home is run by the Care Concern Group, which was criticised by families and the charity Alzheimer Scotland for implementing a 9% fee increase at some of its home this year. Mr Butterworth said it equates to a 1% rise every month since his mother moved into the home.

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He said she is funding her care through savings and the sale of her property. 

He said: "It's not like any other consumer situation, you have no ability to move around. You are stuck there. The care is fantastic but the public is really over a barrow."

The Herald contacted  NHS Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group but it did not respond.

A spokeswoman for East Dunbartonshire Council said: “While we don’t comment on individuals, we will review the information we have on this case.”

The Herald is backing Alzheimer Scotland's campaign for free nursing costs for people with advanced dementia who are in residential care.