Elderly ‘robbed’

Pauline Simms with her 90 year old mum Doreen Wilby. (d27091111)
Pauline Simms with her 90 year old mum Doreen Wilby. (d27091111)

A FAMILY has accused Kirklees Council of robbing the elderly by billing them for day care when services are shut.

Ninety-year-old Doreen Wilby goes to Knowl Park House in Mirfield three times a week and pays two thirds of the cost.

But if the service is shut for a day or the transport to and from her Batley home is cancelled, she still has to pay the same amount.

Daughter Pauline Simms said: “Mum loves going. They’re brilliant with her at Knowl Park House so I’ve no trouble with paying for it, but to charge somebody when it’s actually shut just beggars belief.

“How can Kirklees charge somebody when they’re closed? To me it’s just robbing off the elderly.”

In the last 12 months, Mrs Wilby has missed out on 13 days of care due to bank holidays, snow and a closure for repairs.

Mrs Simms, of Ridgeway Drive, Howden Clough, challenged the council on her mum’s behalf.

She twice won refunds for weeks when the service was shut, but was refused a refund when it was closed for only one day.

A Kirklees spokeswoman said the amount a person paid depended on their financial assessment.

She said: “Someone who has been assessed as needing three days care may actually pay for one or two days a week. Any missed days may not be taken into account because their budget from the council fully meets those costs.”

She said that when a service was closed, the council might offer a refund depending on how much they paid or an alternative service.

But Mrs Simms questioned why bank holidays were always counted as the one day in the week which was funded by the council.

“I still don’t see why they can charge for days they don’t open. How can they decide bank holidays are the days they’re not charging mum for?” she said.

“My main concern is there are others out there who don’t have anybody to fight their corner. If I hadn’t rung up, would I have got the refunds? How many people need still need them?”