Thursday, October 20, 2016

April 11, 2010 (Daily Mail): Spitfire pilot dies days after NHS backs down in row over his care fees

A heroic wartime Spitfire pilot has died just days after the NHS finally backed down in a row over his care fees. Former squadron leader John Mejor, 89 suffered from dementia. But NHS Devon decided that he was not entitled to the full amount of his £800-a-week care-home costs, agreeing to pay only £160. But his daughter Sally, who also looks after her 94-year-old mother, appealed saying she had previously cared for her father, saving the NHS ‘thousands of pounds’. A week before his death on March 24 his family was told that the NHS had agreed to fund his care in full for another year. Ms Mejor said that without the full funding the family would have been forced to sell their home in Exmouth, Devon. She said the family had waited ‘several months’ before NHS Devon decided to reverse its decision. She added: ‘If we had lost our home my mother would have needed care as well.’
(By Richard Savill The Daily Telegraph January 15, 2010) John Mejor, 88, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery in the war, was “a true hero of this country” and deserved better treatment, his daughter said. Sally Mejor Keyes, 54, added: “My dad put his life on the line for this country in our darkest days of the war and now in his desperate hour of need the NHS is deserting him. It is truly heartbreaking.” Mr Mejor, who lives in a nursing home in Exmouth, Devon, has had his nursing care funded by the NHS for the past 18 months. But his daughter has been told the full £800 a week financial support for his care was being withdrawn. She said: "They have agreed to pay us £106 a week, but we have to find the rest, just under £700 a week. “It is totally preposterous and disgraceful.” She added that she feared she would now be forced to sell her parents home, where her 94-year-old mother Cecile wanted to stay for the rest of her life. “It is an extreme form of action, but it may well be the only way we can afford to pay for my father’s care,” said Miss Mejor, who also lives in the house as her mother’s carer. Mr Mejor was accepted on the full package nearly two years ago after suffering several strokes. "At no point was it said there would be any time frame or, that should his condition improve even slightly, it would be pulled from us,” Miss Mejor said. She was told the changes were being made because her father’s condition had improved to a point where it was no longer considered to be in a “severe” category. However, she said her father’s “fundamental condition” had not changed from 18 months ago. Parveen Brown, who is responsible for continuing healthcare funding at NHS Devon, said every family had the right of appeal and a further discussion had taken place with the family. "We have agreed we will be setting up another assessment of Mr Mejor’s needs as part of the appeals process,” said Parveen Brown. "Until the appeal is completed the family will continue to receive full payment." Born in Belgium in 1921, Mr Mejor moved to Britain in the late 1930s. He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) in the summer of 1940 and started combat flying months later. He answered a call for volunteers for a special operation in 1942, and flew to help defend Malta. He shot down at least one German warplane but his own aircraft was hit. He baled out and was rescued from the sea by a Royal Navy launch. He made his last operational flight on June 6, 1944, over the D-Day beaches in Normandy and was awarded the DFC the same year. He commanded the RAF’s 130 squadron in the mid-1950s and later worked for Devon County Council. He was also chairman of Devon Conservation Forum.

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