The wife of an Alzheimer’s disease patient featured in a high-profile television documentary made a moving plea to break down barriers between health and social care.

Barbara Pointon, who featured in Barbara: Love's Farewell, said a single care co-ordinator should be given responsibility to oversee a patient’s care.

The documentary attracted three million viewers when it was broadcast on ITV in August.

Mrs Pointon told a fringe meeting, where she was a panel member: ‘The care path is incredibly complex, some of its social care, some of its health care and I set out on that path not knowing what I was doing.

‘The one thing that would have helped me would have been a single care co-ordinator who has the power to push the buttons right across the spectrum.’

Mrs Pointon, from Cambridgeshire, said this did not happen with the social worker and district nurse assigned to her husband, who passed away in February.

And she said direct payments, which she received for Malcolm’s social care, should be extended to health. These are ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ she told the debate, organised by the King’s Fund to discuss a range of health issues.

The Conservatives pledged at the conference to trial direct payments to people with long-term conditions, including the option to let them ‘top-up’ these with their own money.

It was included in a 10-point plan which the party said would put the patient at the centre of the NHS.