War veteran and Alzheimer’s sufferer James Bryant evicted from Stevenage care home amid row over who should pay for his care

Mr Bryant being transferred from the Roebuck Nursing Home by ambulance

Mr Bryant being transferred from the Roebuck Nursing Home by ambulance - Credit: Archant

Members of the family of a war veteran who served his country working alongside the celebrated code breakers at top secret Bletchley Park claim they are fighting a war of their own against the Stevenage care home which evicted him claiming he owed almost £17,000 in care fees.

James Bryant pictured April 1946

James Bryant pictured April 1946 - Credit: Archant

James Bryant joined the Royal Signals regiment aged just 18, and served throughout the Second World War as a wireless operator,

Now 89, Mr Bryant went into Roebuck Nursing Home in London Road in 2011 after being diagnosed with dementia.

But he was issued with an eviction notice in February, giving him a month to leave the home unless he paid a care bill of £16,958.

The home has taken the case to the financial ombudsman, claiming it has every right to the cash, because the family failed to make their staff aware when Mr Bryant came into money from the sale of his house after the death of his wife Evelyn in 2013.

James Bryant and wife Evelyn in happier times

James Bryant and wife Evelyn in happier times - Credit: Archant

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But Herts County Council, which arranges payment contracts between care homes and families, says it believes the outstanding money was settled by the family.

The three-way conflict illustrates the highly complex technicalities of paying for care experienced by many families and care establishments and highlights loopholes in the system.

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Mr Bryant’s daughter Janet Marshall, 60, said she can hardly believe the way her father has been treated.

She said: “The bottom line is my father is 89 and because we weren’t paying the money the only way they could upset my family was by evicting my father. I think that’s very cruel.

“What really upsets me is their attitude to vulnerable people. If that’s the way they treat people they shouldn’t be in the care business at all.”

Mr Bryant’s care at the home was originally paid for by County Hall with a contribution from Mr Bryant’s private pension.

But when the sale of the house completed in May 2015, Mr Bryant became liable to pay the fees as a self-funder.

The same month, the home billed him for £16,958 claiming he owed the money for the period from when his wife passed away up to May 2015.

In September last year, Mr Bryant was granted ‘continuing health care’ status by the county council, meaning the authority would pay for his care again.

However, the family claims that the care home then insisted on an extra £191 each week because the continuing health care payment of £800 was not enough to cover its costs.

Contacted by the Comet yesterday, Herts County confirmed such ‘topping up’ of continuous care fees is not allowed under NHS legislation.

The home demanded a £16,958 payment again in January this year and then issued Mr Bryant with the eviction letter on February 18 demanding he leave the home by March 18 due to an ‘irreparable breakdown of communication.’

A spokesman for Roebuck said it cannot comment further until proceedings with the ombudsman are complete.

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