Former minister challenges council over care home fees for 93-year-old friend

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A former Baptist minister won a David and Goliath battle to get justice for a 93-year-old woman in a care home.

Ernie Bowden fought for three years to prove Milton Keynes Council had wrongly calculated his elderly friend’s finances.

He won the right to a judicial review to prove the lady had paid more than £4,000 too much towards her care.

The dispute was centred around ‘notional capital’ - money the pensioner once gave to a relative in Germany.

Though the cash had since gone astray, the council still took it into account when deciding when the woman would be eligible for assisted fees.

Normally care home residents pay full fees until their capital falls to £23,250. At that stage they become eligible for financial assistance.

Mr Bowden, who is also a retired physics teacher, won a £4,173 refund for his friend.

The council even paid him £250 to compensate for his own time and trouble during the epic complaint procedure, which he describes as”totally obscure and full of legal flim-flam.”

Now he is worried other elderly people may also be missing out on financial help towards their care home bills.

“I proved the council was wrong in its assessment of notional capital. Yet in the beginning council staff told me: ‘We always do it this way.’

“So how many more people have been overcharged in a similar fashion?” he said.

The council has told Mr Bowden it has now changed its proceedures.