A WOMAN spoke of her heartbreak last night after being told her disabled husband faces having to move from his home of ten years because of a dispute over care costs.

Robin Dixon, a former maintenance fitter and Coal Board worker, has been at St Aiden’s Cottages in Bearpark, near Durham, since 2006, but Careline Lifestyle, which runs the home, has asked Durham County Council to double the amount of funding he gets for his care.

The 65-year-old, who had a heart attack in 1999, two strokes in 2010 and struggles to get out of bed by himself, now faces being moved to a new care home because the two parties cannot agree a funding package.

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His wife Edith Dixon, from Witton Gilbert, who is also disabled, said: “In the last year I’ve never seen him out of bed.

"I thought if anything happens to me he would be looked after for the rest of his life.

"To be treated like this is heartbreaking. It’s not fair that they do this to people. I don't think they realise how upsetting it is."

Mrs Dixon, a former dressmaker who turns 70 this year, pays £809 a month from her husband's pension towards his care.

Careline Lifestyle, which provides specialist care for adults with neurological, learning and physical disabilities, has asked the council to double its funding package for Mr Dixon from under £600 a week to £1,235.

The Northern Echo understands the issue has affected a number of other residents, including 52-year-old Lynne Anderson, who has been at St Aiden's for eight years. Her brother David Anderson has also been there for a year following a brain injury but will not have to move.

Their sister Eunice Attwood, a Methodist minister and former intensive care nurse, said: "Her needs have significantly changed since she has been there.

"I totally get that anyone assessing her now would deem her as having higher care needs."

But she added: "It's heartbreaking. She regards them as an extension of her family. Her brother is there. I think it would cause a significant deterioration in her wellbeing if she was to be moved."

But the council said it has made its own assessments of affected residents and their needs can be met through the existing level of service.

It wants to move affected residents to other facilities as Careline Lifestyle said it cannot care for them with the current funding.

The home was rated as requiring improvement last year by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Since then it has employed extra staff and increased therapeutic support.

The company said many of its residents, who have complex needs and require specialist care, are getting funding packages based on their condition when they were first admitted – sometimes decades ago – and do not reflect their current needs.

Careline Lifestyles commissioning manager Rob Devitt said: "We have been delivering care at St Aiden's at levels that are way beyond what we are funded to deliver and we have been running the home at a loss since last year which is obviously unsustainable.

"Our hope was that this issue would be resolved through dialogue with the council. Sadly, so far, this has not been the case and despite our repeated warnings to Durham Council ... we have not received any help or support.

"This is not an issue of fees increasing it is an issue of needs changing and while we understand the financial pressure that Durham Council are under from government cuts we have to protect the best interests of the people in our care."

Lee Alexander, Durham County Council’s head of adult care, said: “Careline wishes to significantly increase the cost of the services it provides for a number of residents.

“Our own assessments of the residents affected show that their needs can typically be met through the existing level of service and we are, therefore, unable to pay the additional charge.

“Our priority is to work with residents, their families and carers to find alternative accommodation for all those affected and provide support to them.”

The dispute comes just weeks after the CQC warned that the sector was approaching a “tipping point”.

Chief inspector Andrea Sutcliffe said more people with increasingly complex conditions are facing greater difficulties in accessing the care they need.