Sunday 17 December 2017
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Council says sorry after telling woman mum was dead

Fife Council  told a Cairneyhill woman her mum had died and demanded cash for care home fees - despite her mother still being alive and well in a West Fife nursing home.

Jean Bedborough  was left stunned when she opened up the letter to be informed that her 90-year-old mother had passed away.

And the shock soon turned to anger when Fife Council demanded she pay more than £200 towards the final care costs for her mum's stay at Bandrum Nursing Home in Saline.

Mrs Bedborough, of Main Street, said, "It was very distressing for the family.

"I was very concerned but I knew myself because I'd been up to visit her the day before and I knew it wasn't true.

"It was put so abruptly.

"In the same sentence that they said they were sorry about her death they said I owed them X amount of pounds for care costs and it should have been settled at the end of the month."

The letter, signed by social work services' Shelley Crombie, stated, "I was sorry to hear about the recent death of your mother, Marion McLeod, and would like to pass on my sincere condolences.

"It is now necessary to conclude the financial details of Marion McLeod's stay at Bandrum."

The letter then includes an invoice for Mrs McLeod's supposed final two weeks at the home from 1st April until 15th April.

With the letter dated at 18th April it means the council were demanding cash from Mrs Bedborough only three days after her mother was supposed to have passed away.

However, Mrs Beborough's anger only grew when she complained about the letter and received an 'apology' correspondence from the local authority.

She said, "I got a letter of apology but it took a couple of days to come.

"The girl that wrote it obviously didn't have a lot up above the way it was written.

"It was upsetting.

"What annoyed me was that they started talking about money first before they mentioned an apology."

The letter began, "A letter was sent on 18th April requesting a final balance for your mother's care costs. This letter stated in error that your mother had passed away. It should have stated that her contract had changed from a Deferred Payement to Free Personal and Nursing Care Allowance."

Mrs Bedborough continued, "I asked if letters are double-checked before they are sent out but I didn't get much response.

"I've still had no explanation as to why the mistake had been made.

"It's unbelievable. Everybody I tell about it just looks at me with their mouth open.

"If they're doing that with letters what about the financial side of it? You're left wondering if you're getting the correct information there."

Service manager with Fife Council's social work service, Joanna Tait, said, "We wrote to Mrs Bedborough on 18th April about a matter relating to her mother's care.

"Unfortunately the wrong standard letter was used and we apologise unreservedly for any distress this has caused.

"As soon as we became aware of the error during a conversation with Mrs Bedborough on 20th April we apologised and followed this up with a letter reiterating our apology for this regrettable incident."

Source Dunfermline Press