Today’s article charts a typical scenario where the NHS agrees to provide NHS Continuing Healthcare at home – to fund for someone in their own home – but the funding is not enough.
What usually happens is this:
- In the NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment process the NHS agrees to provide full funding for a person’s care.
- However, the family then receives notification that this supposed ‘full’ funding will only cover a capped number of hours per week – not the full time care that is actually needed.
- It means the funding may not be enough to provide for all the person’s assessed care needs, and the family is left in a panic, not knowing what to do.
- What’s worse is that Continuing Healthcare funding cannot be ‘topped up’ by anyone else.
- It means the person needing care may be left vulnerable and without essential care.
There is no cap on NHS Continuing Healthcare
Sadly, it seems increasingly common for local NHS commissioning units to try to get away with providing less care than is needed for people at home. Many say that only a certain number of hours per week will be provided, instead of full time care.
This approach is, however, flawed.
The NHS may try to limit care provision at home as a way of forcing a person to agree to go into a care home – because it can be cheaper for the NHS.
No matter where the care is provided, NHS Continuing Healthcare must cover ALL assessed care needs; there’s no cap on NHS care in this respect. If the NHS leaves someone without the full care they need, they are effectively putting the person at risk of injury and neglect. The NHS should also not simply rely on members of the family to make up for any shortfall in care provision.
Continuing Healthcare funding cannot be ‘topped up’ in the same way as local authority care (LA) – Continuing Healthcare should cover all assessed care needs in the first place.
This paragraph in the National Framework guidelines confirms the point:
Pages 14-15, paragraph 33…
‘To assist in deciding which treatment and other health services it is appropriate for the NHS to provide under the 2006 Act, and to distinguish between those and the services that LAs may provide… the Secretary of State has developed the concept of a ‘primary health need’. Where a person is assessed to have a ‘primary health need, they are eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare… and… the NHS is responsible for providing all of that individual’s assessed health and social care needs…‘
If the NHS is providing care – even if through a subcontracted agency – it is responsible for that care. If you’re faced with a situation where the NHS is not providing enough care through NHS Continuing Healthcare at home – and where the care provision does not meet all the assessed care needs – here’s one thing you could do:
Write to the Head of Adult Safeguarding (usually based within the local authority). Head your letter ‘Serious safeguarding alert’ and mark it urgent. In the letter highlight how your relative is at risk of injury and neglect and then copy the letter to the Head of the Clinical Commissioning Group and also the Head of NHS Continuing Healthcare.
What’s your experience of receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare at home?