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6:09pm on Thursday, 19th April, 2007:

Life Saving


My mother-in-law decided not to die of her stroke, and is now reaching the stage where she can come out of hospital. However, as she needs 24-hour attention from a nurse, she can't go back to her house. My father-in-law has therefore been looking for places nearby where she can stay instead.

Now you'd have thought that requiring the 24-hour attention of a nurse would be the sort of thing that would qualify for NHS treatment. Apparently, it doesn't. Well, it does, but only if you don't have enough money to have private treatment. My in-laws do have a little money saved — their life savings, which are intended for their four grandchildren. Well, they were intended for them... Apparently, the NHS can swoop on these savings and spend them on paying for private treatment until they're exhausted. Then, they move on to taking whatever the house will sell for. Only when the stroke victim is entirely penniless does the NHS itself actually pay for treatment. Given that the cost of treatment is something like £800 a week, this is going to rip through my mother-in-law's savings very rapidly.

Of course, it's not just her savings — they're my father-in-law's savings, too. The way things are looking, the sane thing for him to do would be to divorce his wife of over 50 years so that at least he gets to keep half their savings and half the house.

This is how it's been explained to me, anyway. I'm hoping there's some kind of mistake, because if there isn't then it's madly wrong.

The more I think about my dad's plan to squander his money before he dies, the more it makes sense.

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).