A family of a dementia sufferer have won back £100,000 they were wrongly charged for her care.

Edna Witt's family were forced to sell her £230,000 Saltdean home to pay for her Alzheimer’s treatment after she was taken into a care following the death of her husband, Clifford.

Now, after a four-year legal battle, health services have admitted they were wrong to charge the family for Mrs Witt’s care and agreed to repay the fees.

But despite the victory, Mrs Witt’s daughter, Julie Burton, said her mother would be heartbroken if she knew the home she had wanted to leave as a legacy for grandchildren, Tim and Emma, had been sold to pay for her medical care.

Mrs Burton, of Spring Avenue, Ringmer, said: “After a number of appeals the Primary Care Trust have finally admitted mum’s care fees should have been paid by the NHS.

“Mum was assessed three times in one year, before an appeal finally found her eligible for NHS funding.

“I would have much preferred to have never had to go through that fight. It has taken several years.

“Mum wanted the house to be passed to her grandchildren as a family legacy. Even with this victory we’ll never be able to get that back. She is not doing too well and we are trying to move her to another home because she tried to suffocate another patient.

“The condition can make her quite aggressive.”

Mrs Witt, 86, went into care in 2005. The family are now urging others battling for NHS funding to appeal to the Health Service Ombudsman and take action prior to a new deadline announced by the Department of Health.

Continuing healthcare is where the NHS is responsible for, and fully funds, care.

Families have been given a last chance to claim after the announcement from the Department of Health means a closedown of claims for wrongly paid care home fees for the period 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2011 in England.

Any new claim needs to be registered before September 30.

NHS Sussex chief nurse, Julia Dutchman-Bailey, said: “The PCT reached an agreement with Mrs Witt and her family in August 2011, and have continued to work closely with them since then.

“Our continuing healthcare team take pride in ensuring Mrs Witt’s care is of a high standard and meets her and her families’ needs.

“There is a straightforward and easily accessible process for assessing the health needs of individuals.

“NHS Sussex does not believe legal support is required to complete this process and would encourage anyone to get in touch directly.

“NHS Sussex is keen that when patients and their families are eligible for funding they receive all the money they are entitled to, without having to spend some of it on legal fees paid to solicitors.”