A 94 year-old widow suffering from dementia has won a high court battle with the NHS over payment of her nursing fees.
Hilda Atkinson, a resident at Consort Village Care Centre in Plymouth, fought a legal battle with the support of her family against the authorities to force them to recognise that she required the free 24-hour nursing care available on the NHS.
This was opposed to the "social care" which the NHS can charge the patient for.
Plymouth Teaching Primary Care Trust lost the case and will now pay for her round-the-clock attention.
Nicola Martin, a solicitor with Hugh James, told the Daily Telegraph: "This case has implications for hundreds of people throughout England and Wales. The issue is to do with whether someone is paying nursing fees because of a health need."
The trust has now agreed to pay Ms Atkinson £43,000 for care between 2004 and July this year and to cover any future nursing home fees.
The widow also suffers from Parkinson's disease, angina, osteoporosis and deafness. She was moved into a succession of care homes after 1998. Her family has been arguing with the NHS over payment since then.
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