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News bits May 2019

In this week’s news:

  • A hospital trust is fined for refusing to allow a vulnerable patient be released into the care of her family
  • Bank transfers are due for extra safety checks, but not yet
  • There are more calls to cut stamp duty for downsizing retirees
  • Scotland has joined Wales in passing a law on safe staffing levels for the NHS, and extending it to the care sector
  • Probate applications are being held up as new software is rolled out and new charges loom

day surgery in Northern IrelandVulnerable patient’s right to go home

A hospital has been fined for false imprisonment for refusing to allow a vulnerable person to go home to her family, according to The Telegraph. It’s said to be the first case where the High Court in England has imposed “exceptional” aggravated damages, and legal experts say it sets a precedent which significantly strengthens patients’ rights. The case involved King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London, which refused to release a patient into the care of her medically-qualified children, and after four months sent her to an inadequately briefed care home. (subscription content).

Safer online bank transfers

You may have noticed when logging in to online banking services that there are moves afoot to make bank transfers safer. Currently criminals can trick people into sending money to the wrong account because banks don’t check the names of a recipient account with the sort code and account number. A new Confirmation of Payee service will change that, taking out the loophole that exploits vunerable users. The bad news is that the deadline has been extended from July 2019 to March 2020, amid fears banks can’t meet the original deadline.

Advice on letting propertyCall to cut stamp duty on retirement downsizing

Saga is calling for one stamp-duty free move for homeowners who want to downsize in retirement. The over-50s support organisation is following in the footsteps of the London School of Economics and others who have suggested stamp duty should be scrapped for older buyers.

campaign for free personal careSafe staffing levels for NHS and social care

Scotland has passed what’s being hailed as a “landmark law” on safe staffing for NHS and social care. While Wales became the first country in Europe to pass such a law in 2016, Scotland has gone further by applying the law to all clinical staff groups and social care. The bill aims to ensure the appropriate workforce is in place to deliver safe and high-quality care, and will introduce reporting requirements on staffing requirements. The Royal College of Nursing is campaigning for safe staffing legislation in England and Northern Ireland.

Probate delays before fees rise

Rollout of new software is causing delays in the processing of probate in England and Wales, according to solicitors. An influx of applications ahead of the changes in fee structure is also likely to be causing a bottleneck, although this change has not yet been approved. At the moment, probate costs £215 to apply, or £155 for solicitors. Under the new structure fees, estates valued at more than £2m would be charged £6,000. The threshold at which no probate charge is applied would increase from £5,000 to £50,000. Usually fees are processed within a week to 10 days. Currently there are reports that applications are taking as long as eight weeks to make their way through the system.

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