How Sick Have You Got to Be? He Is 90, Can Hardly Walk or See, and Has Cancer and MRSA. but Still This War Hero Does Not Qualify for Care Home Funding

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AT THE age of 90, Second World War hero Eric Friar can barely walk or see and suffers from bowel cancer, shingles and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

He has been diagnosed with bladder and colon cancer and is currently recovering in hospital from a bout of pneumonia and an MRSA infection.

Yet despite this list of ailments, the former RAF navigator has been told he is not sick enough for the NHS to pay for a nursing home place.

It means Mr Friar and his wife Norma face a bill of [pounds sterling]600 a week for the care he needs - a sum the elderly couple cannot afford.

Because they have carefully saved money through the years, they qualify for only a tiny amount of NHS help towards the cost.

Until now, 78-year-old Mrs Friar has battled to care for her husband, but she has now become weakened by osteoporosis and cannot carry on.

Mr Friar cannot eat unaided, requires a catheter and continence pads, and has trouble sleeping because he is in constant discomfort.

Yet his local NHS trust classes his disabilities only as 'moderate', leaving him ineligible for state-funded nursing home care.

'How bad has he got to be?' Mrs Friar asked yesterday. 'We have never asked for anything in our lives. I'm angry - really angry.

'The NHS will pay [pounds sterling]40 a week towards his care. It's an awful lot left for us to pay.

'This is Blair's way of helping the aged, is it? It makes me sick.

'My husband is a very proud man.

We have never asked for anything and worked hard all our lives. Now, at the time we need help the most, we are being slapped in the face.' Mr Friar, a former salesman, has been in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for treatment after suffering a bout of pneumonia at Easter.

Today, he will be moved to a nursing home in Gloucester which will charge [pounds sterling]600 a week. The couple - who have a son of 51 - have been married for almost 60 years and Mrs Friar has provided round-the-clock care since her husband was first diagnosed with cancer 15 years ago. …