The roots of our campaign go back to 2018 when Rear Admiral (Retired) Philip Mathias finally succeeded in recovering some £200,000 of retrospective Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding for his mother, Joy, who resided in a Salisbury care home with severe dementia and a host of other serious medical conditions.
Further analysis revealed that the incompetence and impropriety he encountered during his two-year battle were not just confined to Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), but commonplace nationwide. Following an article in the Salisbury Journal, that documented his lengthy, but successful attempt to secure funding, campaign team member, Dawn Harrison, made contact with him as she was also starting the CHC journey on behalf of her mother. He was most helpful in guiding her through the minefield that is CHC.
Dawn was already a member of a couple of social media CHC self-help groups and from there, other people became aware of Philip’s success story and were keen to share their own experiences.
In the run up to our campaign, Philip was instrumental in initiating a review by the Metropolitan Police into the misconduct in public office of Simon Stevens (CEO NHS). This specifically related to his failure to act to resolve the many issues that had come to light and the fact that since his tenure, the numbers of people receiving CHC was falling significantly despite an ageing population. The Metropolitan Police concluded that the evidence did not meet the very high bar for a criminal investigation but pointed more towards the questionable competence of officials, their qualifications and suitability to carry out assessments rather than any deliberate attempt to defraud. However, the Lead Investigating Officer went on carefully to imply that a case under civil law may well be feasible.
Following their investigation, Philip then approached the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to question whether entitled people were being unlawfully denied their rights due to:
Eligibility criteria not being adhered to
A significant decrease in the number of eligible people despite an ageing population
The huge ‘postcode lottery’ resulting in an inconsistent approach and
NHS England not ensuring that all CCGs were complying with their legal statutory duties.
After a full investigation, despite one of its strategic goals being to 'protect the rights of the most vulnerable', the EHRC concluded that legal action would not achieve better compliance by CCGs. However, Rebecca Hilsenrath (CEO EHRC) concluded that she would ensure the Commission would continue to keep a focus on the rights of people needing CHC.
Determined to see justice prevail and bearing in mind the suggestion from the Lead Investigating Officer of the Metropolitan Police that a case under civil law may well be feasible, Philip is seeking this Judicial Review and this process is now well underway with the initial ‘Letter before Claim’ having been sent to the DHSC and NHS England. He is supported by a small, but dedicated team who have either fought or are currently still fighting for the CHC funding their loved ones are entitled to. In addition, he is backed by Ian Wise QC and Rebekah Carrier of legal firm Hopkin Murray Beskine. Short biographies of all the team members can be found under ‘Meet the Team’.
Further reading can be found in the booklet ‘The NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Scandal’ under ‘Useful Links’