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Families’ unexpected disabled care bills provoke outrage at Redbridge Council

PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 September 2018

The Roper family (left to right: Eve, Paul and Chris).

The Roper family (left to right: Eve, Paul and Chris).

Archant

Families claim they have been left footing the bill for their disabled relatives’ care after Redbridge Council failed to tell them about funding changes.

Families say they were handed retrospective bills earlier this year for care services, which used to be partly paid for by the NHS.

Some families discovered their weekly charges for day services would increase by up to 70 per cent, or three fold, because of the changes.

The authority has apologised to the families involved and promised to cover the extra costs involved until next month.

Respite care at Green Lodge used to be funded by Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group, but the decision to change that was made in 2016.

Chris Roper’s 41-year-old son Paul has Sturge Weber Syndrome which causes epilepsy and severe learning disability, uses the respite care services at Green Lodge.

The 71-year-old and his wife Eve, who live in Chadwell Heath, are furious about the council’s handling of the situation.

Mr Roper said: “Over the course of 20 months, nobody was informed of the change of funding for respite care.

“The responsibility of caring for a disabled family member for decades puts a strain on a carer’s mental and physical health, their wellbeing. Respite is a health issue.

“Disabled people and their carers weren’t told of changes of responsibility for respite care.

“I’m not going to spell it out here for the council, but it needs to get a grip of the duties and responsibilities placed upon it, the Local Authority, including promoting wellbeing for carers and the cared for.

“Three words, clear, transparent, comprehensive. Look them up.”

By law, local authorities are advised to treat carers as “partners” and are warned that charging them for services is a “false economy.”

A council spokesman said: “We reiterate that the council was not involved in the decision to end the previous arrangement whereby the Clinical Commissioning Group fully funded respite care delivered from Green Lodge.

“When we became aware that this arrangement had ended the council worked with the CCG to ensure that people were only charged the amounts for their care in accordance with national eligibility criteria and the council’s financial charging policies.

“We recognise that we did not fully inform the affected residents that they would have to undergo a financial assessment if they were not entitled to Continuing Health Care funding and we apologise for this.

“To rectify the situation and ensure the small number impacted are not out of pocket we will continue to fully fund their provision until 1 October 2018. To help further, a social worker is at hand to discuss with those who are experiencing difficulties with the new arrangements about how their needs can best be met.”

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