Local Government Ombudsman warns councils over care-home funding

Tony Cryer
Image caption Tony Cryer said his mother was put in an impossible position

Local authorities across England have been warned not to expect residents to have to pay some of their own care-home fees if they cut council funding.

The Local Government Ombudsman issued the ruling after adjudicating a case involving Tameside Council.

Tony Cryer, 43, from Droylsden, complained about having to pay £88 per week when the council threatened to move his mother, 80, to another home.

Tameside Council said it "strongly disputed" the ombudsman's findings.

"It has come too late for my mum [she died in March] and dad. All I can hope is that there will be justice for the other 160 [affected] residents in Tameside," said Mr Cryer.

Ombudsman's recommendations

  • Tameside Council should reimburse Tony Cryer the money that paid for his mother's care
  • A council apology
  • A one-off £250 payment to Mr Cryer to recognise the "time and trouble" associated with his complaint
  • A review of cases affecting 160 other residents

He was told by the authority in March 2013 that his mother Jean, who had dementia, would be moved if she could not pay more towards her care.

Mr Cryer said Age Concern had advised him that it was not in his mother's best health interests to move.

As a result, he paid nearly £4,000 for his mother's care in the 12 months until her death.

"We were given an impossible choice really," said Mr Cryer, who said he felt obliged to pay.

Local Government Ombudsman Jane Martin said: "I urge all authorities to look very closely at their plans, if they are changing care commissioning in their area, to ensure that no vulnerable residents are placed in a similar position."

A Tameside Council spokesman said: "The report is fundamentally flawed in a number of respects, and there are question marks around whether the ombudsman has unlawfully exceeded her powers in issuing the report."

The council also rejected the ombudsman's call for 160 residents to have their cases reviewed, saying only 10 were affected.

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