It has been revealed three families were charged £350,000 for the care of their elderly relatives by NHS Worcestershire.
The family of Judith Roe, 74, who had Alzheimer's disease, was told she did not qualify for NHS funding because her condition was not a health issue.
As a result, the pensioner was forced to sell her home of 30 years for £200,000 to pay the £600-a-week nursing home fees.
Her son Richard Roe, from Telford, Shropshire, spent five-years battling his mother's local NHS trust, which refused to pay for care. Two other families also faced the same treatment and were refused care, which they had to fund themselves.
But the Health Service Ombudsman has now ordered NHS Worcestershire to reimburse all the fees.
In a statement, chief executive of NHS Worcestershire Paul Bates said: "Decisions around eligibility for continuing NHS care are extremely complex and difficult even though we have national guidance to assist us."
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"This patient's condition is most certainly a health issue. However, there are many elderly patients who have been, and no doubt will be, forced to sell their homes to fund their care. Nursing home fees are high; £600 is around the norm, and the issue is a thorny one, which is not easy to resolve. It seems unfair that those hardworking 'ants' should be penalised when the summer-singing 'grasshoppers' have it all for free – but as
your NHS Worcestershire chief exec says, it's not that simple. (Reference Aesop's fables – The Ant and the Grasshopper.)" – Elaine Cocciadiferro, Manchester