‘We may lose our home’

Brian Hulstone has been hit with a 10,000 euro hospital bill after falling ill on holiday and his insurance company have refused to pay.
Brian Hulstone has been hit with a 10,000 euro hospital bill after falling ill on holiday and his insurance company have refused to pay.
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Great-grandparents who have been hit with a £7,500 Spanish hospital bill say they fear they will be left homeless after insurers refused to cough up.

As revealed in The Gazette earlier this month, Brian Hulstone, 75, who suffers from emphysema, was twice admitted to hospital with breathing problems while on holiday in Ibiza with wife Margaret, 66, last May.

The couple, who live at Hambleton Country Park, claim they missed their flight home because they were left stranded in hospital when insurers Ageas failed to pay for a nurse and oxygen to accompany Mr Hulstone in the air.

And they say they were initially unaware that they had been taken to a more expensive private hospital.

They say they were told by Ageas that the hospital bill would not be paid because Mrs Hulstone had told them her husband had two rather than three inhalers and claimed that he could walk 200 yards without getting breathless.

That is also disputed by the company based upon Mr Hulstone’s medical records but he insists he can manage it if he walks slowly.

The couple, who have two great-grandchildren and two grandchildren, now face a race against time to pay what they owe after being set a deadline by the hospital to settle the bill by the end of February.

But they say they simply do not have the money and face selling the static home they bought in November 2013 for £54,000.

“After we had bought our house we had about £8,000 left but we spent that on things like flooring, the windows and new kitchen units,” said Mr Hulstone, a retired county council caretaker and pub manager.

“All we have is this home and our pensions and we don’t know anyone who can help us out. There’s not a lot we can do other than to sell it and see if we can find a council house.

“But I know there is a waiting list and although I don’t like to say it we could be homeless.

“If we don’t do anything the hospital might send the bailiffs round. It’s a big worry and I think it’s disgusting the way the insurance company is treating us.”

An Ageas spokesman said: “Though we sympathise with Mr Hulstone’s predicament, we must maintain our final decision which has been upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service and we will not be making any further investigations.”