from Robin Lovelock : I am pleased to report that in his reply, dated 5th August, received here on 27th August, Charles Kennedy said, "... the reference to treatment for Alzheimers sufferers in the broadcast, was used as an example of what our policies were aiming to achieve for ALL requiring long term care. I can assure you that the Liberal Democrats remain as committed as ever to this policy and my colleague Paul Burstow MP continues to campaign hard on this issue." Robin and his family have no political affiliations whatsoever.
22 Armitage Court, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berks SL5 9TA.
Tel/Fax 01344 620775
Our Ref: LIBDEM1.RTF 30th July 2003
Charles Kennedy, MP, House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
Copies: Paul Burstow. MP (address above), nhscare.info (if required).
Dear Mr Kennedy,
Subject: "Free continuing care"
I am the editor of www.nhscare.info, the 'Coughlan Campaign' website, which was established after I contacted Derek Cole via Paul Burstow's researcher, James Sandbach. This followed Paul's excellent report last Autumn, "WHO PAYS? WHO CARES?". This put me in touch with the winners of the Dorset and Berkshire Ombudsman's rulings, Steve Squires and David Gooch, and the four of us, along with Paul Burstow, have done much to raise public awareness of this £10 billion scandal. More importantly, nhscare.info provides practical and detailed guidance to those wishing to claim their right to 100% NHS funding of long term care.
I very much hope that, on 1st October, you will vigorously follow up the success of your team in the Lords last March, when they secured important concessions from the then Minister Lord Hunt. Baroness Barker withdrew her amendment in consequence and one of our group has since had the following assurance from Jacqui Smith who wrote ..." In addition, we announced during the Report stage of the Community Care (delayed discharges etc) Bill on 10th March that we would .........issue directions to the NHS specifying that an assessment for continuing care is to be carried out, that a record is made of the assessment, and that the patient was informed of the right to ask for that decision to be reviewed and the outcome of the review .......This policy will be implemented from October this year." Perhaps even more importantly, Lord Hunt said '"the patient will remain in hospital until the dispute about eligibility for continuing NHS care has been resolved".
We were therefore rather disappointed when your local election broadcast merely promised to bring free care to Alzheimer's patients. The Ombudsman has been ruling that they are ALREADY entitled to free care.
We share Paul Burstow's view in his radio broadcast that there appears to be 'connivance' between the Secretary of State and Health authorities to deny patients their rights.
We very much hope that in October in Party broadcasts and at your Conference your will give maximum publicity to your achievements in the Lords to ensure that families of all patients about to move from hospital to Nursing Home know of their right of appeal if denied 'free continuing care'.
Please shout it from the rooftops.
Robin Lovelock, editor of www.nhscare.info
on behalf of himself, Derek Cole, Stephen Squires and David Gooch.