Son's fight against eviction to pay mother's care bill

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The Independent Online
The controversial practice of discharging hospital patients into fee-charging nursing homes is to be challenged by lawyers in a test case on Friday which goes to the heart of the row over who pays for health care.

Lawyers will argue that the NHS should be funding the care of an 84-year- old woman who has already had pounds 80,000 taken from her savings to pay for nursing-home fees.

A move this week to evict Susanne Tillson Phillips's son, Robin, from the family home to pay for the ongoing bill will be challenged in court by lawyers who are also seeking a judicial review of Buckinghamshire Health Authority's refusal to pay for her care.

The case puts the spotlight on the borderline between free NHS care and fee-paying care in the community. There are no clear rules over who gets what treatment, and there are wide local variations.

It is a controversy that has led to some elderly patients refusing to leave hospital to avoid having to pay, and risk losing all their assets, even their homes.

The area is particularly confused around the cases of the thousands discharged from hospital who still need extensive nursing care, the kind of care traditionally provided by the NHS.