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Council wrongly forced amputee to pay for care charges

North Somerset Council has been forced to repay a man it wrongly charged for care at home when he was discharged from hospital after an amputation, the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) has revealed.

The council repaid the man’s family £722.40 for fees they should not have paid and was ordered to repay all other patients with similar cases from April 2015 who also should have received free care.

The man, who has not been named, was provided with an ‘enablement’ package to help adjust to life after his amputation, but the Ombudsman found he was entitled to “intermediate” care, which is free for the first six weeks and is “a programme of care provided for a limited period of time to assist a person to maintain or regain the ability to live independently.”

The LGO, Michael King, said: “Simply referring to intermediate care by another name does now allow the council to charge for it.

“I am pleased the council has agreed to apologise to the family and pay them the remedy we have recommended. However, it now needs to identify and repay any others who may have been incorrectly charged for the care they have received.”

A spokesperson for North Somerset Council said that the local authority recognised the failings highlighted in the report and is “in the process of implementing all the recommendations within agreed timescales.”

“We are seeking a response from our clinical commissioning group with regard to the lack of intermediate care residential provision in North Somerset which is vital when people leave hospital,” they added.

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