NHS and out of hours provider argue over cash so mother’s ashes remain unburied

  • Posted

Posted 06/09/2012

A young mother died tragically when doctors failed to diagnose her fatal illness. But now the family can’t afford to bury her ashes because the NHS and out-of-hours provider are squabbling over who should pay for her interment.

Clare Secker of Gorleston fell ill during Christmas 2008 with flu-like symptoms. Her worried family called out-of-hours GP company Take Care Now, but a nurse told Clare’s mother, Janice over the phone to give her paracetamol rather than involving a GP.

Tragically Clare died on 29 December 2008, leaving an 11 month-old son, Tyler. It was subsequently found that her death was caused by broncho-pneumonia, which a GP could have cured with a simple course of antibiotics.

Clare’s family claim they were never offered the services of a GP. Take Care Now has since been taken over by Harmoni.
Meanwhile, Clare was cremated, but her ashes remain on the mantle piece at the family’s home. The family can’t afford to have them buried and those they hold responsible for Clare’s death are squabbling over who should pay.

The nurse who gave the original advice has admitted responsibility through her lawyers. But they will only accept responsibility to compensate the family if Harmoni will reimburse her for any damages.

Harmoni refuse to do so and claim that their insurance specifically excludes responsibility for negligence by nurses.
The Great Yarmouth and Waveney primary care trust who signed the contract with Harmoni claim that it requires the company to hold insurance, so it is nothing to do with them.

Tyler Secker is bringing a legal case on behalf of his dead mother through his family, claiming her death was caused by negligence. But because the three parties potentially responsible for the death are squabbling among themselves, the case has reached an impasse.

The family’s lawyer, Sandra Patton, a medical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal commented:

“The bickering between the three parties and their failure to face up to their responsibilities has meant the ashes of this poor young woman they allowed to die still rest in the family’s living room, denied a decent burial. The reputation of Take Care Now was seriously damaged by the Care Quality Commission report and led to their losing the out-of-hours contract. Harmoni took over, but this meanness and insensitivity on the part of Harmoni and the others involved is quite shocking.

We have asked for an interim payment so at least Clare can be decently buried, but we can’t get anything sensible from any of them. They all insist ‘it’s nuffin to do wiv us, guv’.Sadly, the tragedy confronting the Seckers is likely to set the scene for many many other claims within the newly shaped NHS.

It has been broken up into bite-sized chunks, most of them run by commercial companies. Experience borne out by what has happened to the Seckers shows that commercial health companies are reluctant to accept responsibility for their negligence and invariably slam down the shutters. They fall back on the small print of their contracts with the NHS and refuse all claims against them. But the NHS will claim that all responsibility under the contract lies with the company.

The British public have yet to realise that the NHS they knew has been dismantled. I’m afraid this scenario will be repeated time and time again in the months and years ahead.”

Read more in the Eastern Daily Press.


    How can we help you?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible or to speak to one of our experts call
    0330 404 0749

    I accept that my data will be held for the purpose of my enquiry in accordance with Ashtons
    Privacy Policy

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    How can we help?

    If you have an enquiry or you would like to find out more about our services, why not contact us?