1. ITV Report

Powys Health Board ordered to pay back thousands in 'wrongly paid healthcare fees'

Thousands of pounds will be returned to families who unknowingly paid "continuing healthcare fees" for their elderly relatives. Powys Teaching Health Board were ordered to make the pay out following an investigation by the Public Service Ombudsman.

Approximately 330 people will be compensated after "excessive delays" to initial claims for wrongly paid fees.

Hundreds of families incorrectly paid fees when their relative's needs were primarily health based. Credit: PA Images

Hundreds of families who may be due reimbursement for payments made between 2003 and 2013 are still waiting for their claims to be assessed. The decision is based on whether a patient's needs were primary for health or social care.

Stephen Nicholls incorrectly paid full care costs for his mother Megan for ten years.

I’m so glad that the Ombudsman has recognised how this mismanagement has impacted our lives. I fully appreciate the difficulties the public sector bodies face, due to lack of resources, but a five year delay is unacceptable.

While we welcome this report, we’re still left frustrated that we haven’t come to a resolution. It’s so disappointing that my mum died before a conclusion could be reached. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have had this distress towards the end of her life

– Stephen Nicholls

Hugh James represented Mr Nicholls and has also submitted a series of complaints on behalf of thousands of Welsh families.

Lisa Morgan, partner and head of nursing care department at Hugh James, said work still needs to be done.

It’s alarming that so many people have incorrectly paid up to hundreds of thousands of pounds for healthcare costs. This regularly results in relatives having to sell family homes and make sacrifices in order to ensure their loved one receives the care they need.

Mr Nicholls came to us to appeal an assessment, but there are many people out there who simply accept wrongful conclusions or who don’t realise they can make retrospective claims – even if their family member has died.

We welcome this report and the recommendations outlined by the Ombudsman, but there is still work to be done to make sure the fees are reimbursed to families across Wales.

– Lisa Morgan, Hugh James Solictors

The Health Board are continuing to complete the claims with the hope of getting final decisions to families in the coming months.