Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 17:30 UK

Home sale to pay for care slammed

Eileen Puc
Eileen Puc paid for her care at Nazareth House

A health board has been criticised after an elderly woman was forced to sell her house to pay for nursing care.

Eileen Puc, 74, from Bridgend, paid more than 60,000 in the three years she lived at a care home in Cardiff.

Cardiff Local Health Board said she was not entitled to funding despite serious ill health.

But the public services ombudsman Peter Tyndall disagreed with the decision and said the health board must look again at her case.

Mrs Puc's solicitor Lisa Morgan said it was a decision that could have implications for thousands of other people across Wales who should have had free care.

She said she wanted the health board to repay the money and fund Mrs Puc's care during the next few months while the case was being reassessed.

The ombudsman ruled that the health board did not follow government guidelines.

The board was ordered to pay expenses and 200 compensation for the time Mrs Puc's brother-in-law, Viv Roberts, took to fight the case.

Mr Roberts said he had had felt a sense of injustice that Mrs Puc was being forced to pay for her care.

"If she wasn't in a nursing home, she would be in a hospital because she could not look after herself at home even with the help of her husband at the time who was also a Parkinson's sufferer," he said.

"It was deemed necessary that a nursing home was the only option."

The health board said in a statement: "Cardiff Local Health Board would like to apologise to the patient and her family for any distress caused by this incident.

"The LHB accepts the ombudsman's findings and is working to implement its recommendations.

"We have already made arrangements for a full reassessment of the patient's eligibility for continuing NHS care and a review of our current policy following the publication of the imminently-expected new Welsh Assembly Government's guidance on continuing health care ."

Mrs Puc, who had 24-hour care at the Nazareth House care home in Cardiff, is diabetic, has suffered two strokes and is unable to speak.

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