Ombudsman warns councils over intermediate care responsibilities

Local authorities have been reminded of their responsibility not to charge people for the first six weeks of intermediate care following an investigation into North Somerset Council.

The investigation found that a family had been unfairly charged fees after a family member was admitted into a care home after an amputation.

North Somerset Council claimed the family had been charged because the resident’s care was not intermediate but ‘enablement’.

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Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King, said: “Simply referring to intermediate care by another name does not allow the council to charge for it. Intermediate care, where people are receiving support with the intention of returning home, cannot be charged in this initial period.

“I am pleased the council has agreed to apologise to the family and pay them the remedy we have recommended. However, it now needs to identify and repay any others who may have been incorrectly charged for the care they have received.”

The investigation criticised the council for having confusing and conflicting information on its website and its enablement services.

The council has agreed to apologies and reimburse the family the £722.40 they paid the care home for their six weeks of intermediate care.

North Somerset Council has also agreed to review its social care charging policy and procedures to ensure it is compliant with the Care Act, specifically in relation to enablement.

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