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'NYE BEVAN WOULD TURN IN HIS GRAVE' UK's first NHS baby in pounds 50,000 care home bill battle.

Byline: JAMES McCARTHY

BRITAIN'S first NHS baby faces losing her home because of demands she pay a pounds 50,000 bill to the care home that failed her in-laws.

Now Aneira Thomas says she has lost all faith in the system that promised a cradle to grave service to patients.

The 61-year-old yesterday told how she felt betrayed by the system that let down her family.

While Second World War veteran Islwyn Thomas and wife Hilda stayed at Llys-y-Coed care home: thousands of pounds belonging to the couple vanished; gold wedding rings disappeared; and adozen falls were not reported to the family.

A Care and Social Services Inspectorate of Wales report upheld numerous complaints brought against the Llanelli home by Aneira.

It stated staff "failed to manage appropriately the health, safety and welfare of Hilda Thomas".

But now Carmarthenshire County Council has told Aneira she must stump up pounds 48,750 for the "care" of her in-laws.

Aneira claims when Hilda and Islwyn moved into the home she was told social services would pay.

The former psychiatric nurse claimed her faith in the NHS had been "shattered" and that "Aneurin Bevan would turn in his grave".

Dubbing her in-laws' treatment "shocking" she said: "I was named after Aneurin Bevan because I was the first baby born on the NHS.

"What Aneurin Bevan promised was health care from the cradle to the grave.

"I was an auxiliary nurse, my sisters were nurses and my aunt was a matron at Whitchurch Hospital in Cardiff. I'm very disappointed."

Her mother-in-law - who had Alzheimer's disease - suffered repeated falls and went missing eight times during two years at the home.

Police were called to track her down three times.

Once Aneira, from Swansea, even found her confused and slumped over railings by a road a mile from the home.

When she returned her to the home she found the police there making inquiries about the incident.

Had the couple not died in 2005, it would have been Hilda's 92nd birthday yesterday and Islwyn's 94th birthday tomorrow. Mrs Thomas was so hard up when they passed away she paid for their funerals on a credit card. She could not afford headstones at their grave in Llwynhendy, Llanelli.

Heartbroken Aneira remembered how they had been an elegant and sophisticated couple.

But once in the home, she says they were allowed to descend into dishevelment and mess.

Aneira said: "I feel like I have let my in-laws down for trusting those people to look after them.

"Hilda had been very elegant and fashion conscious and when she was in the home she would be there in leggings that were rolled halfway up her legs."

But her concerns were dismissed.

"When I would complain they would say: 'For goodness' sake, she has got dementia.'" Her late husband Dennis died of a stroke in September 2007.

Aneira claimed he was regularly denied access to his father being told: "He doesn't want to see you." She added: "The worst part for me as well as the money is the neglect of my mother-inlaw."

No-one at Carmarthenshire County Council could be reached for comment yesterday.

The matter is understood to be in the hands of the ombudsman.

Southern Cross Healthcare took over Llys-y-Coed care home in November 2005.

Spokesman Geraint Morgan said: "We have made considerable progress at Llys-y-Coed and today it is well regarded."

But this is cold comfort to Aneira.

"I feel worried sick, I really don't know where to turn," she said.

CAPTION(S):

FEARS: Aneira Thomas outside her home, which she fears she may lose if forced to pay the bill for the care of her in-laws, Islwyn and Hilda Thomas, pictured (above) on their wedding day in 1941
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 13, 2010
Words:621
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