Derek J.Cole. M.A. (Law) LL.B. (Cantab)
9 Anglesea Terrace
St Leonards on Sea
TN38 0QS

The Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, House of Lords London S.W.1.

'The Government should obey the Law.' Nicola Mackintosh,

(winning Solicitor Coughlan Case) BBC 2 Money Box, 13th Feb,2004'

Dear Lord Hunt, 3rd March, 2004

On behalf of the undersigned I draw your attention to the failure of Ministers to honour the promises you made to Parliament to secure the passage of the Delayed Discharges Act. It has even been suggested that the default is so serious that we could seek the Resignation of the Secretary of State, but we prefer to ask your advice first.

We are sending copies to the movers of the amendments concerned, Baroness Barker and Earl Howe, together with Andrew Mackay M.P. (who received from Jacqui Smith confirmation of your promises), Paul Burstow M.P. (who wrote the first full report on 'Coughlan') Mr Hinchliffe,M.P. Chairman of the Commons Health Committee ,the Parliamentary Standards Officer, the Ombudsman and Mr James Strachan, Chairman of the Audit Commission. Signatories are also likely to send copies to their own M.P.s.

The Solicitors for the Surrey and Sussex Strategic Health Authority, Messrs Capsticks, describe me as 'a local crusading citizen, Derek Cole, a retired gentleman with two law degrees who has clearly built up a flourishing pro bono practice in this field.' I negotiated the successful claim of Jean Woolley (ITN 20th Feb) with them and am happy to accept that description. 'Pro bono' as you know means free of charge. As they indicate, I am helping or am in touch with a large number of claimants under 'Coughlan', many more than sign this letter

The promises you made to Parliament were summed up by Jacqui Smith in a letter in May, 2003 to Andrew Mackay M.P., acting for one of our group She wrote that the Secretary of State 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'. (My underlining.)

You also said 'the patient will remain in hospital until the dispute about eligibility for continuing NHS care has been resolved'. (House of Lords, 17th March, 2003). It is difficult to interpret HSC2001/17 (page 31) "Where an individual's primary need is health care then the whole package of care must be paid for by the NHS"

Your promises have not been kept and the disastrous consequences are highlighted by the case of the fire officer's mother in Salford, reduced to £45 a week because Social Services have purported to impound all her husband's assets.

Booklet 25253 ' NHS Care in Nursing Homes' of September, 2001 advising patients of some of their rights has also been ruthlessly suppressed by top NHS management.

Dr Ladyman has last Friday (astonishingly late) confirmed that you had made promises but patently fails to fulfill them, as there is nothing about advising the family of a possible Appeal, let alone staying in hospital.



From today the Government is requiring the NHS to assess patients for fully funded NHS continuing care before they leave hospital.Responding to issues raised by the Health Ombudsman in her report that hospital assessment procedures have not always been well organised, Health Minister Stephen Ladyman said:

"For the first time, NHS Trusts have a legal requirement to assess for continuing care before patients leave hospital. This fulfils our commitment, made during the passage of the Delayed Discharges Act last year, that patients should not be discharged from hospital before assessment for fully funded NHS continuing care has taken place.

"Fully funded NHS continuing care is provided on the basis of the assessed needs of an individual and is not condition specific and may be provided in a variety of settings ranging from a nursing home, hospital, hospice or a person's own home."

On the same day I received from my M.P., Michael Jabez Foster, (Hastings & Rye) confirmation in letters he had obtained for me that the promises had not been honoured, as indeed we already knew from reports from all over the country.


'……. all patients identified as requiring nursing care on hospital discharge are assessed for continuing care and registered nursing care contributions prior to discharge.

It remains incumbent on the Acute Trust to identify those patients and refer to the Primary Care Trust. By working with the acute team a process has been developed to identify patients who need assessment……….'


'…….. This part of the process is the responsibility of Health Colleagues…..'

In the circumstances, I am advising all my claimant families with relatives still in hospital to write to the officers dealing with their cases saying they are not prepared even to discuss the question about who pays until the points raised in our letter to you have been clarified. I am advising them, however, to avoid bed-blocking by agreeing to interpret your promise as meaning that a patient can be transferred to a Nursing Home during a dispute provided the NHS pay the fees.

We all very much hope to hear from you.

Derek J.Cole,

P.S. As you are a former C.H.C. Chairman you might like to know that the minister's circular of 11th Aug, 1999 briefing the NHS on the Coughlan decision, was withheld from Community Health Councils.

Countersigned (copies of the e-mails from them agreeing to sign are available from

Pam Coughlan. WINNER of the leading case. BBC Breakfast, 20th Feb,2003

Steve Squires MAJOR CAMPAIGNER BBC Breakfast 20th Feb 2003, Sunday Telegraph photograph Nov 2002. Winner of first Ombudsman's case. Now paid in full. Two consultants rebuked by GMC for giving false evidence to Tribunal incited by a senior Manager (since promoted) and leading NHS Solicitors now writing the new criteria! The Law Society refused to investigate.

Robin Lovelock MAJOR CAMPAIGNER. Website editor Not advised of rights pre Lord Hunt's commitment. Decided to pay so that his late mother could be properly cared for. Medical records refused.

Jim Allen MAJOR CAMPAIGNER. Obtained Lord Hunt's promise from Andrew Mackay M.P. Feels he could overturn the refusal of free care in Court of Appeal, but as executor does not intend to pursue it further.

Monica Perrott MAJOR CAMPAIGNER. BBC main news 20th Feb, 2003'. Radio 4.Winner' of Ombudsman's report but still unpaid. Tricked into paying by deceit. No records kept of original decision. (Other Ombudsman 'winners' also remain unpaid.)

Ian Perkin;MAJOR CAMPAIGNER Lord Hunt's promises not honoured. Refusing to pay Edits website

Garry O'N. Not informed of his rights. Social Services attempting to seize all his father's assets, telling his mother to live on £45 a week. Full name disclosed to Lord Hunt only

Doreen Curran; See LIZ PHILLIPS.Daily Mail 'Money Section' passim. Refusal of free care is 'perverse and wrong' said Dr Bob Spink M.P. in Commons Debate

John Cranwell-Ward; Case akin to above. G.P.'s view similar to Dr Spink's. Hospital Trust refusing Medical records despite Power of Attorney.

Sandra Adams; threat to move mother to cheaper home far away avoided with help of Stephen Twigg M.P.

Tony & Chris K; Flatly refused to pay as the PCT withheld assessment and medical details. Full name disclosed to Michael Foster M.P. only

Patricia Badcock; Assessment wildly inaccurate.SHA admit chaos.

Kathleen Airey; Raised in Commons debate by Simon Burns M.P. for David Curry M.P. Minister promised decision in 14 Days! No decision in 14 months after 'dodgy dossier' assessment presented to Tribunal. Family refusing to pay.

Margaret A; Lord Hunt's promises not honoured. Refusing to pay Full name disclosed to Lord Hunt only

Jennie Starkie; Lord Hunt's promises not honoured. Refusing to pay

Michael Hall Lord Hunt's promises not honoured. Refusing to pay. Secured letter via Quentin Davies M.P. from James Strachan, Chairman of the Audit Commission, confirming that they are keeping the situation under review

Matthew Coppard; Appeared on Meridien TV after News Editor phoned to say he was under intense NHS pressure in Maidstone not to transmit First claim made after report in Parish Magazine of Southover Church,Lewes, Sept, 2002 Inaccurate information given to tribunal. Inaccurate information given to consultant resulting in 'dodgy dossier' assessment. Lord Hunt's promises not honoured. Refusing to pay since 2002

.John Mercer .BBC Breakfast and BBC Liverpool Radio 20th Feb, 2003 Grotesquely inaccurate assessment. No minutes kept of decision. Complaint tribunal refused.

George Peak. Main ITN News 20th Feb, 2003. representing Jean Woolley, whose home was unlawfully sold George was told falsely that the G.P. had ruled Jean was not eligible. GP made vigorous phone call of protest to officers. Richard Ottaway M.P. was told nothing was known of the case,although just beforehand 8 officers rejected a recommendation from the Community Care Nurse that 50% should be.paid. The very existence of the meeting was not uncovered for a year. The fees are now being paid and a £25000 compensation cheque was received.

James Sandbach. Public lawyer. Specialises in Public Advice. Expert on the 'Coughlan Case'.Claiming for totally disabled friend..


A few of those I am currently assisting are listed below.

Val R; Lord Hunt's promises not honoured. Refused to pay

Geof T ; Lord Hunt's promises not honoured. Refusing to pay

Kevin W Social services booked the Nursing Home Bill but at first refused to pay , then said they would but did not do so, leaving the Nursing Home unpaid for several months.

Nick M Lord Hunt's promises not honoured. Refusing to pay

Mike F. Lord Hunt's promises not honoured. Refusing to pay