Southern Cross Healthcare charge daughter £50 for copy of dementia parent’s Care Plan

As I’ve mentioned on here before, my elderly father suffers from vascular dementia and is currently a resident in an EMI (i.e. Elderly Mental Infirm) Care/Nursing Home.

The Home is one of many in this country owned by Southern Cross Healthcare. The provision of residential care for elderly people has become big, lucrative business these days, especially with the rise in the number of elderly people suffering from dementia.

My father and I are fortunate in that he has granted to me a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare, the effect of which is that I am entitled to make decisions on behalf of my father that he no longer has the capacity to make for himself, in respect of matters that relate to his health and welfare. Elderly people who haven’t granted such an LPA to their relatives or friends can be at a major disadvantage in being dealt with by social services and healthcare officials, some of whom have become used to being able to make important decisions without involving relatives. See here for a post I wrote some time ago in relation to LPAs.

Anyway, I had cause to write to my father’s Home some 6 weeks ago in respect of a number of issues impacting upon the quality of my father’s care. At the conclusion of the letter I asked for a copy of all the nursing and other notes that have been made by the Home in respect of my father since he moved in late last year. Today I finally received a reply, and in relation to my request for copies of relevant documentation I was told that Southern Cross Healthcare would be willing to provide me with a copy of my father’s Care Plan (as opposed to the notes I asked for). Specifically, they stated:

“We can provide you with photocopies of your father’s care plan, a fee of £50 under the Data Protection Act will be levied, alternately you may wish to visit [name of Care Home] and read the notes, the Home Manager could arrange for a senior member of staff to explain the terminology if you should wish.”

The Care Plan, BTW, is a basic document which actually forms part of the contract betweeen the resident and the Home. I already have a copy, and it’s not a large document.

£50 for a copy of a short document that forms part of the contract between my father and the organisation he pays a significant monthly sum to in respect of his care? Well, as I mentioned above: the provision of residential care for elderly people has become big, lucrative business these days, especially with the rise in the number of elderly people suffering from dementia.

Southern Cross Healthcare is the name of the organisation in question. If at some stage you find yourself choosing a Care Home for your own elderly and vulnerable relative then it might be worth bearing that in mind.


8 Responses to Southern Cross Healthcare charge daughter £50 for copy of dementia parent’s Care Plan

  1. John J says:

    Letters to the Guardian, Times etc might make me feel a little bit better.

    Whilst I don’t think such a letter would alter my opinion of Southern Cross, it may alter their attitude to the £50 charge.

    I know a little about the Data Protection Act, but Southern Cross seem to be hiding behind it as a way of justifying their ridiculous charge for a photocopy.

    Perhaps you should take them up on their offer of going to see the document on their premises….and take your camera – set on high-res.



  2. Laura says:

    It certainly needs some airing – perhaps too often these things are done to those who don’t dare speak up – I agree with JJ – take them up on the offer!

  3. peewiglet says:

    Many thanks, both of you. I know I can go in and see the Care Plan, and indeed I aleady have a copy of an older version, provided free of charge.

    If necessary I can pay the photocopying charge. My mind simply boggled, though, at the idea that this organisation would attempt to charge £50 to a relative of an elderly person suffering from dementia for a copy of this basic document. I feel it’s scandalous.

  4. Laura says:

    My husband queries the charging of a fee as part of the data protection act (he is a lawyer) and says it smacks of dishonesty not to mention dis-information!

  5. PhilW says:

    I seemed to have a recollection of a £10 fee for copies of documents so I had a look at the Information Commissioner’s Office website. Seems that £10 is just for computer records and up to £50 is allowed for manual records:

    So they seem clued up as to how they can get the maximum out of people. A rip off.

  6. Mango Terrier says:

    This morning’s “You and Yours” on Radio 4 raised issues with Souther Cross Health Care, who are in financial trouble.

    You might want to take a look at this link

  7. Williams says:

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