City of York Council has been told to pay £10,000 in costs and formally apologise after a mix-up over a man’s care funding.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found the council at fault for failing to carry out its responsibilities under the government’s Covid-19 hospital discharge guidance.
The complainant’s father was admitted to hospital in early 2020 and stayed there until March that year.
In response to the pandemic and the need to keep hospital beds free, the government introduced temporary measures for the NHS to pay for some care costs.
The council placed the man’s father in a care home, with the NHS funding his care until the end of August 2020.
But the government ended the temporary measures in September 2020, which led to confusion about whether the council or the family themselves would have to pay for the care.
The council’s social worker spoke with the complainant and told him the funding had ended and his father would now become a self-funder, but the following day the council sent a letter which said the funding would continue until further assessments were completed.
In December 2020, the council told the complainant his father was a self-funder, and that he was responsible to pay for the care provider’s charges since September 2020.
The man said he experienced financial loss as a result and that the situation caused him and his father distress.
He moved his father to a more affordable care home straight away.
Apologise in writing
The council told the complainant it agreed it was at fault for causing confusion, but said if he was unsure about the funding, he should have contacted them.
The ombudsman’s inspector found the council was responsible for the man’s care charges between September 2020 and early December 2020.
It has been ordered to apologise in writing to the complainant and to acknowledge the distress he and his father experienced as a result of the council’s faults.
The authority must pay just short of £10,000 to the complainant or directly to the care provider.