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Most pensioners in the dark over free nursing care

The vast majority of pensioners and their families do not know if they are entitled to free nursing care from their local authority, according to longterm care specialist the Care Funding Bureau.

It reports that following the publication in February of the Health Service Ombudsman&#39s damning report on the guidance on eligibility of patients for NHS-funded care, 85 per cent of the subsequent phone calls it received were from people who did not know where they stood.

Of the 280 calls it fielded in March and April, 235 callers either thought they were due free care but in reality were not or they were prepared to pay their own costs but were actually covered.

CFB is urging pensioners upset with how they have been assessed to complain to their primary care trust or health authority. It has produced a fact sheet with information about how and when to complain and provides a guide through the complaint process.

Adviser Owain Wright says: “The eligibility criteria is messy and must be made clearer because in reality it is pretty simple. LTC funding remains one of the most mystifying areas in financial services and thousands of elderly people are wrongly forced to pay for their care because of a lack of transparency in the Department of Health&#39s rules governing funding.”

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