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Martin Searle Solicitors

Case Study: Securing a substantial Section 117 aftercare back payment

How Paula Jones, Associate Solicitor and Professional Deputies Service Lead, secured backdated Section 117 aftercare funding worth £194,000 by challenging a Local Authority (LA) and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)’s failure to fund a package of care in a residential care home.

The situation

Janet is a 78 year old lady who was diagnosed with psychotic depression and detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act five years ago. She remained under section for around 6 months.

When she was discharged Health and Social Services agreed that she required ongoing 24 hour care and support in a residential care home. However, the LA Social Services Department and the CCG failed to prepare and implement a Section 117 aftercare plan. This left Janet having to self-fund her care home fees even though the law states that aftercare provided under Section 117 should be free of charge.

Janet’s niece, Cynthia, who is her Attorney for Property and Finance, got in touch with us to ask whether Social Services can charge for Section 117 aftercare services.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

Paula wrote to Health and Social Services challenging their historical and ongoing failure to implement a Section 117 aftercare plan for Janet. Health and Social Services were quick to accept that Janet was eligible for Section 117 aftercare funding, but questioned whether in Janet’s case Section 117 aftercare should include the accommodation costs in a care home.

Paula put forward successful arguments that Janet’s need to receive aftercare services in a care home setting arose from her mental health condition and was required to prevent a deterioration and /or readmission to hospital. Paula made it clear to Health and Social Services that they were in breach of the Section 117 aftercare duty to Janet and that they were legally responsible for the full payment of Janet’s care home fees from the date of discharge from hospital.

The result

Health and Social Services accepted Paula’s arguments and agreed that they had a legal duty to fund Janet’s full care costs under Section 117 aftercare rules. They made a backdated payment to refund Janet’s residential care costs from the date of her discharge from Section 3 Mental Health Act 1983.

Cynthia was very happy that her aunt was now receiving the funding that she was legally entitled to.

For expert advice on challenging Section 117 aftercare decisions, contact our Community Care Law team on 01273 609911, or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk.

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