On The Edge TV interview with Angela Sherman, founder of Care To be Different
In this clip, Angela Sherman talks about NHS practice of withdrawing funding after it’s been granted, claiming retrospectively for NHS Continuing Healthcare and alternative therapies for cancer. The interview was recorded before her parents died.
Duration: 00:09:59. Watch it here. [TV clip © Edge Media]
… or read the transcript below:
TC = Theo Chalmers (interviewer), On The Edge
AS = Angela Sherman, founder, Care To Be Different
SS = Simon Stone, lawyer, Kingsley David Solicitors
TC: Just before the break we were reading out a text from Malcolm in Lincoln who said – I am going to read it again: “Your female guest talks constantly of money but little of love.”
AS: I just wanted to come back to Malcolm because he is right, I can totally understand why he is saying that. That’s the thing that I can fight with, I suppose, that’s the thing I can claim for them
TC: The money.
AS: The money. If everything was free and it was a question of fighting for a particular type of care as opposed to a sub-standard type of care, I would fight for that type of care. So I can see why it seems about money, but it’s fighting for what’s right and what they are entitled to. That’s really what I am fighting for.
TC: OK, we have done with that now, have we?
TC: Well, I am dying to say John from Tingrith says, “Well done Angela for handling that fool from Lincs.” Well, John, that’s your opinion. Obviously I won’t be the judge of that! Paul in Warrington said, “Priorities are profit not health. The health system will always be corrupt. Unhealthy equals money equals profit.” And another here from Andy from Kincardineshire, Scotland: “Remember John Harris, he was a guest on this programme, (Freeman on the land John Harris tpuc.org, well worth going there). John Harris saying: “The NHS is a corporation so they won’t give funding freely.” I suppose if a corporation has to make profit, there is that.
Yes, this money, it is a lot about money now. Another that came up in the break that you said was – well, two things that I wanted to ask you about: One was that they can take it away again. Explain that to me, if they have made a judgement. Your parents are not going to spontaneously get well again, are they?
AS: No, when I received the final decision about my mother, saying that they [the NHS] would refund her care fees, at the very end of the letter was a statement to say that I should bear in mind that as she deteriorates further, they may withdraw the funding. Their ‘thinking’ there is that as she deteriorates further she will have fewer needs because she will be closer to death. That sounds totally bizarre, but it’s the way that they think –
TC: Like food. She won’t need food or water.
AS: Or she will be so immobile that no-one will have to do anything, that’s the kind of thinking. But when you read that, especially after you have fought for so long, it’s a horrible position to be in, because you never quite know will she be funded in two months time?
TC: But also, I would love to have somebody from the NHS to come on this programme and justify that – that they can actually remove funding from somebody who is so needing nursing care, which is what the whole row was about, quite clearly so needing nursing, that it doesn’t make any sense. Come and justify it. Let’s have a right of reply.
AS: They feel that the interventions, the nursing interventions, will be fewer so that’s why they say that.
TC: But if you have to do everything for somebody, presumably if they were in that state they would be incontinent and they wouldn’t be able to feed themselves or turn over, they would have bed sores. I’m not a doctor or anything.
AS: Yes, I don’t know how many people that happens to, but I know that.
TC: So they can do that, they can just pull out the rug from under you.
AS: So that leaves you in this kind of limbo as to the money that you have managed to save for them. Do you then somehow get rid of it, or do you keep it for them, but then realise that at some point the NHS might take it way again. I don’t know.
TC: But you can’t spend it on anything anyway can you. You are not allowed to do that. If it’s that you’re trusted with it for them, you can’t buy yourself a sports car or something, can you?
AS: No, it’s not my money, but it’s a horrible position to be in.
TC: The other thing I was going to ask you about that also came up in the break was claiming retrospectively. Talk about that for a moment.
AS: Yes, if your parent or relative has died, you can claim retrospectively if you believe that while they were alive they shouldn’t have been paying care fees themselves, so there is a process for that.
TC: But how can you have an assessment if they are no – mind you, they never had the person at the assessment anyway, did they, let’s be honest! But how can you have an assessment really if they are not there?
AS: It will all come down to the notes and the views of people who knew them at the time.
TC: So people watching who have been in that situation and didn’t realise they had an option, could retrospectively claim?
AS: Yes, there might be some deadlines or time limits, I’m not sure, but I know you can do that.
TC: Let’s talk about legal advice here because obviously we are not going to give any legal advice on this programme, but I just do want to do two things – give Simon Stone’s website which is www.kingsleydavid.com and give your website again, that’s angelasherman.com [now www.caretobedifferent.co.uk] but you also mentioned a firm of lawyers in Cardiff.
SS: Yes, Hugh James.
TC: Is that Hugh James.com or…?
SS: I think it may be .co.uk, but put in Hugh James and it will come up. And the lady that is looking after cases there is lady called Nicola Martin, and these are the ones that have 700 current cases.
TC: 700 cases – so they probably know a bit about it, do they?
SS: Yes, very much so.
TC: Are these class actions or separate cases?
SS: Some might be. I don’t know the ins and outs of all the cases they have got there, but they are the ones that I lined up to support us, if needs be.
TC: When you went to court – which you didn’t have to do in the end because they realised you were serious, so I suppose one of the lessons would be get serious?
AS: And after the event, it’s kind of easier to talk about it than when you are in it. It’s a horrible process. You need persistence, you need focus, but the other thing you need to do is look after yourself, because it’s very easy to sort of run yourself down fighting for other people, and it’s really important to look after yourself.
SS: I am just going to interject there because the gentleman who said there was no love in this – I can vouch for what Angela has had to go through, because I have seen her go through it, and I can assure Malcolm that there has been a huge amount of love that has fuelled and driven Angela to look after her parents in this way, and I suspect it’s going to be exactly the same for the other viewers who are looking at this, where they have got parents or in-laws in this position.
TC: Yes, I can’t imagine you’d really want to get into a fight like this unless there was a bigger motive that just cash. Well, thank you for being so noble and saying that Simon.
Brian at Maesteg again; “Hi Angela, I admire your guts and determination and your reluctance to point the finger.” I don’t know who you are supposed to have pointed the finger at, but I think you have pointed the finger a bit, haven’t you? Who are the baddies in all of this?
AS: Well, it’s the system. I am not pointing the finger at any one person or place, it’s the system that is totally flawed and allows people to slip through the net and be lost.
TC: We did talk very briefly about ‘big pharma’ just before the break there, and I know that Simon was quite conciliatory towards them really.
SS: Well less cynical than perhaps you!
TC: I don’t have an opinion. Whatever I say in the breaks is private. But Angela you have an opinion I believe…
AS: I do. If we go back to cancer for example, one of the reasons why I personally wouldn’t want my father to go through chemo, radiation and all of that, is because I believe there are far better ways to cure cancer. There are proven ways to cure cancer that are not harmful.
TC: But they are not doing those with your father either.
AS: No, they are not doing those with my father.
TC: Is that because they don’t believe in them because they just say allopathic medicine is it, and everything is mumbo jumbo nonsense?
AS: That’s the system and when you are in a care home situation, as far as I can tell, if you wanted to introduce something new or something that wasn’t conventional it would have to go through the GP and the GP, I believe, would be fairly reluctant to allow somebody with cancer to try something or have something that perhaps they [GPs] weren’t confident with.
TC: But let’s be honest, they haven’t got much to lose, have they?
AS: No, and there are things such as B17 – vitamin B17.
TC: It’s got another name as well, hasn’t it?
AS: It’s… Yes, I will think of it in a minute. It kills cancer cells.
TC: Is it something to do with almonds?
AS: Yes, apricot kernels.
AS: But it kills cancer cells and leaves healthy cells untouched. It’s natural cyanide.
TC: You’re not giving any legal advice or medical advice.
AS: No, I’m not giving any advice, but there are so many cases where that has worked.