Findings that are cause for concern.
A new survey by Which? has found that some Clinical Commissioning Groups are twenty fives times less likely to award NHS Continuing Healthcare funding than in other areas. This issue has drawn particular attention from the Daily Mail as there are concerns that this is disproportionately hitting pensioners.
NHS Continuing Healthcare is fully funded package of care for those who are deemed to have a primary health need. However, there is no set legal definition as to what a primary health need constituents, which means that CCGs are free to allocate funding where they deem appropriate. Yet, this has led to huge variations and inconsistencies across the country. For example, The Public Accounts Committee recently reported that in 2015-16, as a proportion of their total spending, CCG funding for NHS Continuing Healthcare ranged from 1% to 10% and that the number of people deemed eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding ranged from 28 to 356 per 50, 0000 people. You can find out more about the statistics the report highlighted here.
What this means for pensioners
Because of the wide variations in the figures, this raises the concern that pensioners who may actually be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding are in fact being charged for their care. This means that they could be paying out thousands of pounds each year unnecessarily. If people could qualify for free funding then they shouldn’t have to spend their savings on care fees that they should already be receiving from the NHS.
The criteria for qualification for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding is based purely upon whether someone has a primary health need. It should not be a system which is a ‘postcode lottery’. If someone has a primary health need then they have a right to access this financial lifeline.
What you can do if you think you may have wrongly been denied NHS Continuing Healthcare funding
If you think that you, or a relative, have been wrongly assessed as ineligible and you believe that there is an underlying primary health need, then you can appeal the decision. Just Caring Legal specialises in NHS Continuing Healthcare. Rosalind Hughes set up Just Caring Legal to advocate for families to be able to access the care funding which they are entitled to. Her medio-legal expertise means that she can create robust arguments to strengthen your case and ensure that the NHS Continuing Healthcare system is followed correctly by all of those involved.