Too many families are selling off their properties to pay for nursing care say the authors of a new guide launched by TV star Gloria Hunniford.
Farley Dwek, a law firm which has put together a guide to securing funding to help with care costs says that many families are eligible for full NHS funding under a scheme called NHS Continuing Healthcare.
In 2013 6,172 people in the South West, including 498 in Gloucestershire, were in receipt of continuing health care funding, provided in the county by the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, which took over responsibility from the Primary Care Trust.
But Farley Dwek believe as many as three times that number may be eligible for the funding.
Presenter Gloria, who has fronted many TV shows including Sunday, Sunday, Songs of Praise and the One Show said: ““Putting relatives in a care home or even paying for their care at home is a tough enough decision. It’s stressful and emotionally charged. But sorting out the finances to fund their care can cause a financial headache that lasts for years afterwards.
“The funding process can be complicated and not enough people understand it. Too many families feel as though there is a lack of help out there and are missing out on funding they are entitled to as a result.
“Farley Dwek is the first law firm in the country to put together a free guide and offer a service to help families through the NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding process. I am delighted to be involved to help raise the profile of NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, making it more accessible to families who are entitled to it.
“Farley Dwek helps people through the assessment process for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding and ensures a fair outcome for those who qualify. The guide will draw attention to this area of funding which everyone with primary health care needs is entitled to, regardless of whether they have savings to pay for their care or not.
“If your family has a Continuing Healthcare Funding assessment coming up it would be sensible to seek expert legal advice.”
Andrew Farley of Farley Dwek, said: “The problem is that the current funding system is unfair. It hits those who have worked their whole lives, spent their money wisely and put a bit aside for a rainy day. Families are spending millions of pounds on care home fees unnecessarily.
“Crucial decisions are made that could spell the difference between paying nothing and paying £700 a week.
“We’re delighted that Gloria Hunniford is helping us launch our free guide and get our message out there that free funding is available and we estimate that there could be 100,000 families out there who should qualify.”
To download the free guide visit www.farleydwek.com or call 0800 011 4136.
At time of going to press nobody from GCCG was able to comment.
Information on how to get continuing health care funding in Gloucestershire is available at: gloucestershireccg.nhs.uk/your-services/continuing-healthcare/