COVID: How Will Backlogs Impact on NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding?

COVID: How Will Backlogs Impact on NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding?

Whilst care providers still have restrictions in place to deter visitors and protect their vulnerable residents, it is inevitable that in time, those restrictions will continue to ease slowly. Indeed, some care homes are already allowing non-essential visitors. We know of one company which has been able to arrange for its external nurse assessors (wearing full PPE) to visit a patient at a care home and undertake a preliminary assessment as to their potential eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC).

Clearing the backlog: What is the future for Assessments?

NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were already behind and flooded with pending assessments (and appeals) before coronavirus. How much more so will the backlog be felt once care homes can reopen their doors to facilitate CHC assessments and MDT hearings can fully resume face-to-face in due course?

CCGs are generally under-resourced and couldn’t cope before COVID, and in all likelihood, they will struggle again, but only to a greater degree. It is, of course, too early to predict the level of that degree until life returns to some sort of ‘normality’. However, we expect that most CCGs will take a long time to regain control and make inroads into clearing their huge backlogs and undertaking new patient assessments (as well as completing appeals).

Those whose CHC assessment is still on hold or else postponed by COVID, may well be feeling the financial strain of paying for their ongoing care. If savings or assets, such as a home, need to be sold to release funds, this is not the right financial market to do so. These are indeed worrying times.

Yet, knowing of the backlogs, some ​families may be feeling complacent, thinking that their relative’s existing CHC package of NHS fully-funded care (FREE) is ‘safe’ and going to remain in place indefinitely post-COVID.

Those waiting for an assessment or appeal which has been postponed by CCGs, can probably expect lengthy delays unless the NHS put their house in order to address the looming problem. It is expected that CCGs will be inundated and unable to cope as furloughed staff, and other key staff deployed to the frontline to fight COVID, return to their previous CHC duties. We would expect CCGs to recruit more staff to meet the increasing demand of an ageing population and clear the backlogs; but that will have a financial cost, too.

The alternative is for CCGs to outsource its backlog of CHC assessments as a quick fix to catch up, but again, this has a financial implication. Will the quality of the assessments be adversely affected? Does the CCG’s CHC Department have the time to check the quality and standard of assessments undertaken by their appointed outsourced provider? Just because an outsourced resource has been used before, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are still up to the job, even if they have managed to retain their most experienced staff, post COVID. Will families lose out as a result of shoddy and inadequately prepared assessments?

Will stretched NHS Continuing Healthcare Departments have the time and resources to train new staff to an acceptable standard, such that both they and families can trust their decision-making process and outcome rationale?

Will the mistakes of previous poorly trained assessors and flawed NHS Local Resolution appeal outcomes be perpetuated post-COVID?

Will families be squeezed into rushed assessments merely to clear backlogs, but in doing so, create another long-term problem instead – making wrong decisions due to lack of time and careful consideration, just to tick a box and get the job done? The result may be to knock out lots of assessments quickly, and simply defer those found ineligible for reconsideration at appeal, should the family have the gumption and staying power to fight on.

We shall have to wait and see how all these ‘unknowns’ play out. The Government will have to make huge resources available to CCGs to deal with the backlog of assessments and help patch up a CHC system that some argue has not been fit for purpose for some time.

What is the future for Appeals?

There is no sign of any face-to-face appeals at Local Resolution Meetings, at present.

In the meantime, despite COVID restrictions, some CCGs have been resourceful and have successfully conducted local appeals by telephone hearing, albeit in reduced numbers. From what we hear, this seems to be working well for those families who have tried it. Perhaps it will become the norm in due course, and be offered more widely by all CCGs, as it is efficient and avoids the time and travelling costs of a face-to-face meeting.

Independent Review Panels conducted by NHS England have virtually ground to a complete halt, save for a handful of IRPs who have been proceeding by telephone appointment, again in small numbers. Whilst not ideal, it does have some advantages and appears to be working well.

4 Key areas for concern

However, when CCGs are able to resume business again on a full basis, there are some key areas for concern which families need to be alert to and need to start thinking about now, so that they are prepared:

1. The initial Checklist

The Checklist screening assessment is the usual starting point to see whether the individual is able to move forward to a full assessment – to determine their eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding. However, if the Checklist assessment is delayed, then that will have a direct impact on the rest of the assessment process, and inevitably delay the chance of getting CHC Funding for your relative. When CCGs resume business in due course, we don’t anticipate that they will have a problem undertaking Checklists, as they can be carried out relatively quickly by a wide variety of different skill sets – so resources here shouldn’t be a problem. The bar to passing the Checklist assessment is set deliberately low to ensure all those who merit a full assessment (the next stage) are not deprived of that opportunity. However, this is where the backlog is likely to begin.

Firstly, care homes will also need the administrative skill and resources available to facilitate access to patients for these full assessments, and also to make their records available. Some care homes will undoubtedly fare far better than others, with more available staff and administration to deal with the flood of pending assessments and requests for records.

Secondly, passing the Checklist is only the preliminary stage – to screen out those who aren’t eligible for a full assessment. The full assessment is conducted by a Multi-Disciplinary Team appointed by the CCG. We have raised our concerns above as to how the CCGs will be able to get back on track after months of inactivity. Given the existing backlogs of assessments already in the pipeline, whether pending or postponed, families can expect a lengthy wait. In the meantime, they will have to find alternative means of funding their relative’s care.

2. Interim funding

To encourage prompt discharge from hospital during the COVID-19 crisis period, under the COVID legislation the Government has provided emergency funds to support individuals who may be waiting for an initial Checklist assessment for CHC or other Funding, plus an enhancement to those with existing packages of care, post 19th March 2020. But beware! These interim measures may only be temporary, and you need to be giving thought as to what will happen when Covid Funding is removed, and how your relative will continue to fund their ongoing healthcare needs.

3. Three and twelve monthly reviews post-CHC award

If your relative has an existing package of care in place, you may well be feeling relieved that their CHC Funding is continuing, at least for now. But beware, as many may have their funding reviewed and removed once CHC assessments resume post-COVID. Don’t forget, an individual’s care needs will fluctuate and change over time. Some healthcare needs may become more challenging and complex, whilst others may become better managed and controlled and dissipate. Just because CHC funding is in place now, does not guarantee that it will remain in perpetuity and in certain situations it can justifiably be removed. Please speak to us if you are unsure.

Once CHC Funding is awarded, a CCG is supposed to carry out an initial review at 3 months, and thereafter every 12 months, to check that the current package of care in place remains adequate to meet the individual’s ongoing needs. However, since COVID these assessments have been placed on hold. Great news – if your relative has an existing care package which meets their needs and is continuing. Not so good, however, if that package is out of date and is actually inadequate to meet their increasing healthcare needs, and they are now underfunded.

But how will CCGs manage the review process? What additional resources will be needed to catch-up? Will the work be outsourced, and if so, how reliable are the outsourced providers?

From the CCG’s perspective, we anticipate they will try and make huge strides to play catch up and get as many reviews done as quickly as possible. There are two driving motives:

1) To help patients by ensuring that their care package is still sufficient to meet their needs; and

2) To save money and remove CHC where it is no longer appropriate! There will be many individuals who are in receipt of CHC Funding who are no longer eligible and have been left on CHC unchecked for too long at great expense to the NHS. Others who are legitimately in receipt of CHC Funding may face the worrying risk of having it arbitrarily withdrawn upon review.

Remember, the NHS are mandated to save £855m by 2021. So, it should be a matter of concern for those who already have CHC funding awarded and are expecting a review. If CHC Funding is removed, they will have other means to fund their care.

4. Fast Track Pathway Tool

Fast Track Funding is awarded to an individual who has a “rapidly deteriorating condition that may be entering a terminal phase in their life”. This Funding is typically awarded in an end-of-life scenario. However, to assist with speedy discharge from hospital and to release beds for more COVID patients, many individuals have been given Fast Track Funding. But beware! In many cases, Fast Track Funding has been provided a ‘sweetener’ just to get patients out of hospital quickly and prevent bed-blocking. If the patient survives, a review should ordinarily take place after 3 months. However, post-COVID these reviews have been postponed. Although, some may be fortunate enough to retain the benefit of their CHC package until a review takes place and indeed beyond, others may face the stark reality of having it withdrawn when it is found that their relative didn’t meet the eligibility criteria for CHC in the first place. Their relative may have placed in a more expensive care home based on that Fast Track award, only to find that they have to fund this cost themselves if CHC is subsequently removed. That can create a lot of anxiety both for the patient and their family, especially if they have to relocate their relative to a more affordable care home.

In conclusion:

There is much uncertainty at present as to how CCGs will be able to manage their inevitable backlogs or how they will possibly cope with existing and new assessments and appeals. What resources will they have at their disposal and how will they be funded? What the state of play will be remains to be seen. However, we fear for families already in receipt of CHC and COVID Funding through different routes, who may be subjected to a curt review of their relative’s care package and potentially be at risk of having it removed and withdrawn.

Preparation is paramount. If you need advice, seek it early on and don’t leave it to the last minute as there could be many people in the same boat, all scrambling for the best advice and help they can get. If you need help, don’t forget to visit our one-to-one page or contact our Advice Line. If you have a query, email to: enquiries@caretobedifferent.co.uk

For additional reading, here’s a selection of helpful blogs. You can visit our website and search for many more related articles:

Beware! Annual Reviews can lead to CHC Funded Care being withdrawn

Are you worried that Continuing Healthcare Funding may be withdrawn?

Fast Track Pathway Tool

How To Fast Track The Continuing Healthcare Funding Process

Let’s Talk Fast Track! Vital NHS Funding Withdrawn After 3 Months – The Latest NHS Controversy…

31 Comments

  1. Ally 2 months ago

    Replying to On the Coast – I have evidenced the maladministration of the ‘caring individuals’ you defend and the misery they cause to extremely vulnerable people and their families. I have witnessed the misuse of the framework by CHC assessor’s to suit their agenda, leaving vulnerable people without the care they need. The CHC are playing financial gate keeper for the CCG’s because they are not adequately trained to the standard needed for such a delicate process nor have they any understanding of laws that underpin the Mandatory Framework they are supposed to pay heed to. Intended Malice or not these individuals should not be making mistakes when dealing with vulnerable people. It’s not an acceptable excuse, especially as the ratio of ‘mistakes’ drastically outweigh due process. They should be stripped of their NHS badge because they go against everything the NHS stands for.
    The backlog hasn’t just appeared due to the Covid pandemic these backlogs have been there for years. Why the concern all of a sudden. A More public accountability perhaps?
    You berate the Advocates and legal professionals who are now having to defend the atrocities of the CHC process and suggest they give people false hope which is cruel. yet you defend and promote the clinicians responsible for the situation. You advise individuals to “Speak to a CHC clinician and get a no nonsense answer” the very clinicians who unlawfully deny many the funding they are entitled to and use their own interpretation of the Mandatory Framework to perform unlawful assessments. That is the REAL cruelty. Vulnerable people left without care because the CHC/CCG’s cannot or do not follow the correct process.
    Let’s be clear if the CHC teams understood the Framework, law and responsibilities of their role and followed it, then there would be no need for such Legal companies or advocates. But until the unlawful assessments stop they will be ready to act.
    “You don’t think people should have to sell their homes to pay for care – but that’s the law of the land” – Where exactly ‘In law’ does it say that you MUST sell your home? The rules around property disregard are incredibly complex. If the CHC/CCG’s can’t grasp the rules of the Framework the odds are they won’t grasp this. I agree that the NHS shouldn’t pay for all care, however the CCG’s are unlawfully pushing health needs into the social care bracket, and that’s the battle. I disagree “that the CHC/CCG’s are trying to operate lawful” You have to understand the law to operate within it, and you have to respect it enough to follow it. Their actions contradict your statement.

    • Hi Ally,
      Well said! You have responded in a way which I wanted to, but was conscious of my submission being prohibited if it was deemed inappropriate!
      Hence my mild response to On the Coast! I’m still wary about it’s authenticity. Perhaps it’s not genuine and has been
      posted to generate a heated debate? Who knows? I honestly can’t see anyone with such admiration for CHC/CCG’s wanting to post such glorified comments on a website that is visited mainly by individuals who are fighting the system.
      Can you? Anyway, I am a real person who fought and won and whether it’s genuine or not, it’s good to read your comments!!!

      • Ally 1 month ago

        Hi Michelle Wetherall. I can assure you the post is genuine and I have a pretty good idea who from and which company they work for but for obvious reasons cannot post their name. They profit greatly from our CCG’s inability to run their own affairs. They are trying to undermine sites like CTBD and solicitors like Farley Dwek because they are opening up the whole fraudulent system which makes their job far harder. These companies attack the likes of Farley Dwek and accuse them of being ‘ Claims management firms’ who give people false hope and make money from vulnerable people. The truth is these companies get paid stupid money by our CCG’s to provide ‘strategic leads’ and ‘CHC transformation consultants’ who’s sole purpose is to get an end result of not eligible. They are everything they accuse Companies like Farley Dwek of being. Difference is one is for the people and one is not. This is far more corrupt than most realise. Thank God for ‘Solicitors’ like Farley Dwek who know the law. Together we may actually see fair assessments in the future.

        • Michelle Wetherall 1 month ago

          Hi Ally, I hear what you are saying about the commissioning support groups that you are referring to. My experience from 2016 to 2018 with my own strategic group was highlighted in a BBC article which documented 90 families fighting for CHC.
          I think my commissioning group was operating for 30 different CCG’s, so quite likely we are talking about the same people!
          If they are monitoring this site, then they will definitely remember my name!
          It was a stressful time that was compounded by the way in which my case was dealt with.
          I did use a firm of solicitors in the very early stages. Thank goodness I was able to continue the challenge myself and not incur the fees of a solicitor.
          I feel desperately sorry for those families that fail to recover/get CHC and are landed with legal expenses as well. The whole system is so unfair and needs overhauling.
          Sadly, it’s only the hardy few Individuals that have been directly affected by CHC that care enough to keep it in the spotlight.
          I end up repeating myself about successive Government promises to deal with the Health/Social care system and how it is to be paid for, but I guess it will be pushed even further down the line now that Covid has taken over from Brexit!
          The only thing I have learnt from my father’s case is that there is absolutely no need to be prudent and save for your old age! He saved throughout his working life and never took any benefits from the state , yet when he needed nursing care in the last few years of his life, he was made to pay for it, even though a friend in the same home was getting exactly the same care and was being fully funded because he had no assets! I know what I will be doing from now on…..Spending and enjoying my life!!!!

  2. Anne 2 months ago

    Replying to On The Coast – my Mother was one of the rare cases, successful at IRP and received a full refund of nursing costs exceeding a mere few weeks. Throughout the completely flawed process the CCG clearly had an eye on Financial Gatekeeping. Even to the extent of over hearing senior CHC staff at a public meeting concerning CHC muttering ‘there is no money in the pot for CHC’. That particular CCG’s processes were so far removed from the National Framework Guidance that following my complaint to senior Management CHC, the CCG self referred to an external auditor to scrutinise their processes, so that going forward patients and families would have a positive experience. If the CCG’s did their jobs properly in the first place, didn’t treat families as adversaries and conducted fair and professional assessments , relatives would not feel the need to engage professional organisations to assist them. I find it disheartening to hear accounts of so many individuals suffering ill health due to the avoidable stress placed on them by a process clearly lacking accountability and transparency. Maybe NHSE should provide HMG with a feasible solution to the backlog issue? And not one that wastes more public money paying recently retired CCG staff in a consultancy capacity…….

  3. On the Coast 2 months ago

    It is disheartening to read so many negative comments directed at CCGs and the clinicians that operate in this field. I apprecaite that CCGs and CHC teams don’t always get it right, but the majority of people I know working in CHC are caring individuals. There is no malice, they are not trying to make things difficult, and yes, they make mistakes. Believe me, the idea of a backlog is causing grave concern among the people I know working in this field, especially as we have no direction from HM Government about how this is going to be managed. Inevitably there will be a significant period of retrospective reviews that will inevitably lead to an increase in appeals and further increased work. Unfortunately this almost guarantees a third party provider filling the gap as CCGs do not have the dozens of knowledgeable CHC experts just waiting to leap onto the backlog once they are allowed.
    I would reiterate other people who have said Get Advice – but get sensible advice. I have seen too many families dragged through years of appeals by companies professing to assist with an appeal for a case that from the outset would never succeed. This additional burden on a family is cruel to the extreme, raising expectations of a successful outcome when it is highly unlikely there will be one.
    So – my advice – get advice from more than one source. Speak to people who know the system and the framework in both the letter and the application. Speak to a clinician in CHC if you can and ask them for a no nonsense answer – “does my relative reach the threshold?” – and don’t be blinded by promises of success.
    Interesting fact, only around 1 in 10 appeals at IRP (the final stage of NHSE appeal before Parliamentary review) are successful, and of those 1 in 10, less than 1 in 10 are successful for the whole period being claimed. Usually, ‘success’ is the last few weeks of the claim. And if you are not successful at IRP the Parliamentary Ombudsman does not always ask for the case to be looked at again.
    I don’t think people should have to sell their homes to pay for their care, but that is the law of the land. I also don’t think that the NHS should pay for all care either – which leaves home owners in a difficult situation, I get that, but that is the law. CHC workers and CCGs are not just trying to make life difficult, they are trying to operate lawfully in a complex system that does disadvantage home owners and people with savings – but that disadvantage is not a fault of the NHS, the CCGs nor the workers themselves.

    • BattlingCHC 2 months ago

      If you look at all the main drivers and where the power is within CHC you won’t be at all surprised to see the results of the Parliamentary Select Committee’s report into CHC.

      What the Wollaston-chaired report showed was that CHC is a deeply unfair system, operated largely by CHC, NHS and social care provider practitioners who aren’t properly trained so don’t understand the system. They have vested interests in not applying the system fairly for various reasons – eg NHS is cash-strapped so wants to push the financial responsibility for care onto the self-funder and / or the council; and home providers earn substantially more money from self-funders than they do from CHC funded or council funded residents.

      Then you’ve also got the problem of social care records (needed to support CHC) being in the mess you’d expect within a system where staff turnover is exceptionally high, staff are paid at or below NMW, staff are rarely adequately trained even in caring tasks and the records are kept for reasons unrelated to CHC.

      Yes, there are some CHC assessors and some CCGs that behave decently, ethically and professionally. The Select Committee suggested a very large minority of those involved in running CHC aren’t of that standard.

    • Michelle Wetherall 2 months ago

      Hello On the Coast,
      Those who visit this site are all disheartened with the system of NHS CHC and the service operated by many CCGs. I’m not sure of the purpose of your contribution? You do not say if you have actually been directly affected or have had a relative assessed by this system?
      I guess not. I respectfully suggest that had you been subjected to years and years of injustice that is CHC you might not have such admiration for the people administering it.
      I spent almost 4 years fighting for CHC for my late father who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
      I successfully appealed to NHS England at IRP who found that my own CCG to have judged my fathers case to be unsound and unsatisfactory and that my father did indeed have a PHN at his 1st MDT. The monumental task of appealing this decision was NOT helped by those caring and kind people that you say are working in this field. My experience is like many others on this site, of inept and in some cases deceitful individuals who couldn’t care less about the impact of CHC on families, let alone the patient.
      The help I received from my own CHC/CCG was non existent! No advice or help, let alone compassion! It’s just a job to most of them. That job is to protect budgets!
      Again, I’m not sure of your reason for visiting this site and your article….. I have my suspicions!
      But whilst your here and I accept you are being genuine, then, may I suggest you read the articles submitted by retired Rear Admiral Matthias and more recently a GP asking for help to navigate this process, she described as a “nightmare!”
      I do hope your submission is warmly welcomed by other readers, but don’t be surprised if it provokes some forthright responses.

    • Suzanne 2 months ago

      What are your qualifications do you have a loved one who has gone through this process. Have you had a nurse assessor who conducts an MDT and has broken her own codes of conduct instead of acting as a financial gatekeeper

    • Andrea 2 months ago

      Disheartening indeed, and in my father’s case a distressing and torturous experience. Not getting it right, as you mention, included: the CCG denying receipt of the first checklist completed, adding over 4 months to the process; a MDT that consisted of 2 people who had never met my father and were not knowledgeable about his needs, although they did falsely claim to have spent time with him; selective use of records and false representation of the information from those records to complete the DST; the time taken from MDT to confirmation of not being eligible far exceeded the recommended timescales. In all meetings with the CCG, up to Local Appeal the approach was defensive, aggressive and far from compassionate, and the process throughout not one I would describe as at all open and transparent. I could go on, as this really only scratches the surface of what I would most certainly describe as a very difficult process (an understatement).
      At present I await a revised date for our IRP, due to take place in April but understandably postponed during the pandemic. I am advised this is on hold until NHSE staff can be allowed back into their offices to retrieve the paper files sent by our CCG for the IRP. We are now more than 2 years on from an initial request for an assessment.
      Perhaps you could elaborate on what you mean by sensible advice? I have found the advice on Care To Be Different to be extremely helpful, but I note you mention getting advice from more than one source, could you advise further and what you mean by people who know the system?

  4. Michael Vine 2 months ago

    Really interesting and informative article thank you. One point that really peaked my interest was the following “We know of one company which has been able to arrange for its external nurse assessors (wearing full PPE) to visit a patient at a care home and undertake a preliminary assessment as to their potential eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC).

    Do you know which specific CCG was involved in this assessment, or any additional information on this story? Or perhaps you can direct me to where you sourced this information please?

    Thanks

  5. Clare Dyer 2 months ago

    i am in the nightmare scenario that my dad has had a severe stroke and is in hospital. There is no way that he will be able to come home, he is virtually bed bound, aphasic, dysarthric, doubly incontinent and confused. He is awaiting a fitting of a PEG for feeding. We have been told that due to covid he will be discharged at NHS expense with minimal notice ( regulations say can be 3 hours) with no choice of care home at all. There will be no CHC checklist or assessment until some point in the future. My mum is registered disabled and they had plans to care for her in their own home but his needs are well beyond that they had planned. ( they have stair lift etc but he cant sit ) My mum has her heart set on a specific care home but that is ‘banned’ from the current discharge arrangements as too expensive. They could fund it for while but i can even seem to find a mechanism to request an assessment so payments can be backdated if we win. I am a GP and it is complicated enough for me, so how the lay public are supposed to know what to do is beyond me. Currently i am just documenting everything the therapists say that i can use in our case such as :variable, at risk of , pain, unreliable communication etc.

    • BattlingCHC 2 months ago

      Forgive me Clare for suggesting things you know much more about than I do and have probably already considered …

      Even in a pandemic when there is a risk of death involved from hospital acquired cross-infections patients MUST BE SAFELY DISCHARGED. If they’re discharged unsafely then I THINK the hospital can be sued and there could be professional consequences for the patient’s consultant. Obviously, it’s a matter of medical and legal judgements where the balance of risk lies in moving a patient from a potentially unsafe hospital to a self-evidently unsafe (for that type of patient) nursing home or home care situation.

      In your shoes, I’d do what I did for my Mum. I got advice from a friend who was a senior social services manager. She talked me through what’s a safe discharge and how to document the threats to an individual patient’s safety / risk to others (eg carers) that have to be guarded against in a discharge situation. She gave me a document format that I used to list and explain the risks of discharging my Mum to her home situation (as planned) and to any other situation than a nursing home with “bells and whistles”. I sent the document to her consultant and got the planned discharge halted and a “best interests” meeting arranged with the multi-disciplinary medical and social work team and all family members attending.

      Your Mum isn’t entitled to insist on a discharge to a specific home because she thinks it’s the nicest one – but she and you are entitled to insist that your Dad is discharged to a safe place and one where it’s possible for his wife, kin and friends to visit (“right to family life”). Your Mum’s mobility, strength and personal financial resources may be limited so she’s likely to be only able to travel within a short distance of home – therefore the nursing home also has to be as close to home as other circumstances allow.

      Your Dad’s situation sounds so medically complex that very, very few nursing homes will be able to look after him properly and those that are will charge very high fees. Once your Dad’s safe discharge requirements are listed, it’s possible the NHS and social care will decide the home your Mum wants your Dad to go to is jolly good value, even if they have to pay all teh fees for ever.

      The other suggestion I’d make is to find yourself local allies who know a lot about CHC and about the local decision-makers in the CCG, local authority social services dept and hospital discharge team. You need to know how to make teh system work for you – allies on the inside are invaluable. CHC is not a fair or procedurally-driven system; it’s all about passing on the responsibility for who’s going to pick up the bill. Sorry to be so cynical!

    • Michelle wetherall 2 months ago

      Hello Clare,
      What a damning comment from a GP – “Nightmare Scenario!”
      But you have come to right place to get advice and help. I am sorry to hear about both your mother and your father.
      With COVID your father will not be paying for care, once discharged from hospital into a care home. Once things begin to return to the “new normal” and the care home begins to invoice you, then that will be the time to insist on the Checklist for NHS CHC to be completed. You are best placed as a GP to be able to understand the checklist criteria and one would hope that given your father’s condition he will pass this initial screening process. You should not agree to a financial assessment until this process has been completed. In the meantime, you are wise to document everything!
      I would also advise you to read the National Framework for CHC and familiarize yourself with the Checklist and Decision Support Tool. Reading articles on this website will also prepare you for dealing with CHC and your own CCG.
      Good Luck!

  6. Steve Moxon 2 months ago

    I stand corrected, CTB. My apologies.
    This, then, would explain my CCG’s reference to a “mini review”: this would be the preliminary review ahead of a possible ‘full eligibility’ assessment.
    It seems that it is this “mini review” that is used to look for evidence of a sufficient change in condition possibly to warrant looking into CHC eligibility, not (as I had understood it) that there needed to be a priori evidence ahead of initiation of any sort of review.

  7. Michelle Wetherall 3 months ago

    Hi Jenny,
    You made me smile with with your suggestion! My own family have said time and again that I should get a job with CHC! Trouble is, I would be sacked in the first week for spending the budget by overturning ineligible decisions!!!
    This Pandemic has laid bare all that is wrong and inadequate with the NHS/Social Care/ Care home Sector, but will Boris keep his promise to keep it at the top of the agenda? I fear not! It will take a massive outcry and demonstrations such as those we have seen with the BLM for the Government to take notice. That’s not going to happen!
    Even with Rear Admiral Matthias campaigning, I don’t see change coming quickly. It angers me that we will continue to see families struggling to get CHC. That’s why I still continue to encourage relatives on this platform to keep the pressure on and appeal ,appeal ,appeal.

  8. Steve Moxon 3 months ago

    As before you are still stating that reviews are annual, yet this cannot be the case under the rules fully implemented in October 2018. The new rules are crystal clear: a review is not to be made unless there are clear indications of significant change in the patient’s condition. Therefore reviews cannot be done after set intervals of twelve months, can they? Not without beaching the rules.

    • Care to be Different 3 months ago

      Hi Steve – we did reply to your last comment – sorry if you did not see it. Here it is again. Kind regards

      Hi Steve – you are mistaken I’m afraid.

      Page 52 (paragraphs 181 to 185 of the 2018 Framework clearly states as follows:-
      “NHS Continuing Healthcare Reviews (at three and 12 months)
      Purpose and frequency of reviews
      181. Where an individual has been found eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, a review should be undertaken within three months of the eligibility decision being made. After this, further reviews should be undertaken on at least an annual basis, although some individuals will require more frequent review in line with clinical judgement and changing needs.
      182. Bearing in mind the minimum standards set out above, a guiding principle is that the frequency, format and attendance at reviews should be proportionate to the situation in question in order to ensure that time and resources are used effectively.
      183. These reviews should primarily focus on whether the care plan or arrangements remain appropriate to meet the individual’s needs. It is expected that in the majority of cases there will be no need to reassess for eligibility.
      184. It is expected that the most recently completed Decision Support Tool (DST) will normally be available at the review and should be used as a point of reference to identify any potential change in needs. Where there is clear evidence of a change in needs to such an extent that it may impact on the individual’s eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare, then the CCG should arrange a full reassessment of eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare.
      185. Where reassessment of eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare is required, a new DST must be completed by a properly constituted multidisciplinary team (MDT), as set out in this National Framework. Where appropriate, comparison should be made to the information provided in the previous DST. CCGs are reminded that they must (in so far as is reasonably practicable) consult with the local authority before making an NHS Continuing Healthcare eligibility decision, including any re-assessment of eligibility. This duty is normally discharged by the involvement of the local authority in the MDT process, as set out in the Assessment of Eligibility section of this National Framework. CCGs should ensure an individual’s needs continue to be met during this reassessment of eligibility process.
      To clarify therefore, annual reviews should still be undertaken to ensure that the current Care Plan and placement remain appropriate. The CCG cannot be criticised for undertaking an annual review. Only where a change in need is identified which may impact on CHC eligibility, is it necessary to undertake full assessment by way of DST.
      Kind regards

      • Steve Moxon 2 months ago

        I stand corrected, CTB. My apologies, I hadn’t seen your previous reply.
        This, then, would explain my CCG’s reference to a “mini review”: this would be the preliminary review ahead of a possible ‘full eligibility’ assessment.
        It seems that it is this “mini review” that is used to look for evidence of a sufficient change in condition possibly to warrant looking into CHC eligibility, not (as I had understood it) that there needed to be a priori evidence ahead of initiation of any sort of review.

    • Michelle wetherall 3 months ago

      Hello Steve,
      I can understand the point you are making, but CTBD are correct with the NF Oct 2018 revised document.
      It’s the wording that makes it more open to interpretation. The use of the words SHOULD & MAY, are always going
      to be open to interpretation. My understanding of 181-185 is the Review SHOULD focus on whether the package of care remains appropriate to meet the needs as opposed to whether the individual has a further MDT assessment using the DST and can pass the criteria for eligibility.
      I remember arguing this very point at a review in Jan 2017, long before the revised 2018 document.
      My father had been Fast Tracked in the Sept 2016 and his deterioration was ongoing, yet the 3 monthly review wasn’t about the care package and if it was considered appropriate etc. It was that all important chance for CHC to remove the funding, that had been awarded following the Fast Track that identifying him as having the all important Primary Health Care Need. The assessors at this review spent so much time ringing the office for advice, that eventually the review was postponed.
      So, I do understand the point you are making, but you MUST be prepared for the 3 month and 12 month review!
      It also reminds me of another similar argument I had, concerning assessors responsibility when considering deterioration. The NF page 16 para 38, where it is considered that deterioration CAN REASONABLY BE ANTICIPATED TO OCCUR, this SHOULD be documented and taken in to account, in order to avoid the need for unnecessary or repeat assessments.
      Assessors never anticpate! My father’s 1st DST took place at the beginning of Aug 2016, by September he had been Fast Tracked. The assessors at his MDT, were inept and relied entirely on care notes that were incomplete and inadequate
      (Which links into the latest CTBD article on Problems with Care Home Notes) and did NOT ANTICIPATE. Had the DST been completed in a robust manner with competent assessors there would have been no need for the FTT to be completed. Keep Fighting on!

      • Steve Moxon 2 months ago

        Cheers, Michelle.
        Well, my mum’s condition is unchanged, so if they do get around to reviewing her then there isn’t a case for going on to a full review. The upshot is that she shouldn’t be losing her CHC funding anytime soon.

  9. Jane Urmston 3 months ago

    Michelle Wetherall’s comment is interesting and I have thought the same and agree with many of her comments. However, picking up on her point re. the smaller backlog, looking at the enormous amount (and the very sad) loss of people in hospital and care homes due to Covid 19, I was also thinking that a lot of those families may still be claiming retrospectively; if they have already begun the process then this is possible of course. Maybe many families will find themselves in a situation whereby as the care home fees have now stopped and/or they may even have inherited estate from the deceased family member, this could possibly cause them to review and not be so bothered any more with the hassle of the “fight” . However, many will not; therefore the backlog could still be high. I suppose I am just stating the obvious, but to finish off my comment, I was writing to my local MP for the past four years about the care home health care costs for the elderly, feeling that I was getting fobbed off with every reply from the House of Commons; so yes, Michelle, I agree, although a lot of bad stuff has happened this year and everything seems to be a priority, this is one thing that most definitely should be now sorted once and for all, and people should keep the pressure on.

    • Michelle Wetherall 3 months ago

      Hello Jane,
      I’m so happy that you’ve been writing to your MP for 4 years about the state of social care and care homes. I’m so angry with successive Governments who have continually pushed this down the agenda because of other urgent matters!
      Rubbish! This is an urgent matter!! Having been through this horrendous process for my father (I was successful at IRP) I don’t want this to happen to my mum, or indeed anyone else, or the next generation! But until it happens to you then the public are oblivious to it and therefore it’s not in the headlines and therefore not at Priority for Government.
      It’s only the likes of Rear Admiral Matthias who campaigns and the hardy few on this website that seem determined to have the Will to keep the pressure on. Sadly it is isn’t enough to enforce change. As we have seen with the BLM campaign recently, it take massive outcry and public demonstrations to get the Government to sit up and take notice!

      • Jane Urmston 3 months ago

        So true Michelle, you should have seen some of the letters I got back from Government health officials; in one particular reply I recall for instance, from beginning to end it was honestly a load of waffle and really said NOTHING and the minister must have repeated the word “transparency” for or five times over, which also meant nothing! I sadly lost my Mum back in November just gone, and had already started a case, so I will be ploughing on with it when they are ready to resume. I suppose some people may not have the will any more, but as you say, you are glad I’ve been writing for 4 years to GVT and that’s how long some people have unfortunately been fighting for, (if not longer) so yes, it IS top priority, always has been and should continue to be so, for all ALL involved, and at whatever part of the process they may be at. Good luck to us all.

        • BattlingCHC 3 months ago

          Hi Jane

          You said you’d been writing to government health officials … I wonder whether you’ve been able to track down jobholders / depts in NHS England, DHSC that would be helpful to me? And if you have, whether you’d be willing to pass on what you know of particular jobholders’ areas of responsibility and their contact details?

          I’ve been fighting my (now dead) Mum’s case for CHC for 4 years now, the main area of blockage being the CCG which claims (1) never to have obtained details about Mum” passing” the Checklist and them being obliged to organise the second stage of the process; (2) ignores copies of the emails providing good proof they did; and (3) that they’re entitled to create their own procedures, in defiance of the national framework.

          The many problems with CHC include the difficulty that those with a vested interest in refusing CHC have also got most of the power when it comes to administering the initial stages of it. What I need to help me are the “oversight”and “ally” organisations capable of forcing the CCG to divulge their records and put Mum’s case to be considered by a fair administrator. It’s finding the oversight and ally organisations to do this job that troubles me.

          I had some hopes of staff at DHSC, also the local authority (having its own troubles with this CCG) … but then personal emergencies followed by Brexit and Covid-19 intervened. The Ombudsman is unlikely to be prepared to dig hard enough to get at the facts. Simply unearthing records that should have been provided by the CCG within a month took 3 months for fired-up NHS staff pressing them hard. The nursing home records aren’t good and the staff there didn’t understand anything about CHC. Mum’s MP is now hopefully free of his immersion in Brexit but is likely to be actively engaged with the Covid-19 fiasco.

          Have you any useful contacts for me and / or advice please in navigating around the DHSC? I’d be so grateful. We can’t afford paid professional help.

          • Jane Urmston 2 months ago

            Hello, apologies for the delayed response. I am so sorry for your situation; my own Mum sadly passed away just after we had done Stage 1 and then a Fast track was implemented a few days before she was on “end of life”. I restarted the process just before the Pandemic hit and obviously it is on hold until who knows? But I will try and complete it, if able, for sure; mainly to close a chapter. I hope I did not confuse you with my post; yes, I have been corresponding back and forth to my local MP (who is Gvt opposition BTW) and only receiving replies from Parliamentary departments and health secretaries a few times over the past four years , but all were pretty much “saying nothing” and promising even less unfortunately! During this time I spoke to no-one else in the corridors of power (or outside of it) sorry. Then when Brexit hit, everything was off the table! So I am struggling to help you with what YOU need , really sorry. Our Mum lost a further £4k from her estate when we used an outside source to help us through the process, but she passed away before as I mentioned, so we ended our contract with them, and anything I do now will be off my “own bat”, as they would have wanted £thousands more to continue to represent us after her demise, and I was not willing to do that. Good luck with your fight anyway, sorry I could not help.

  10. BattlingCHC 3 months ago

    Are there any looming deadlines or changes to CHC I ought to be aware of please because they might EVEN MORE ADVERSELY affect the processing of my dead Mum’s original, still outstanding claim for CHC?

    Mum’s first claim for CHC was never completed by the CCG because of its admin failures; it dates back over 4 years.

    Mum’s nursing home, the hospitals with her records, the County Council with her records ,NHS England and (presumably) the CCG will all have been struggling to cope with Covid-19 and weren’t well-organised or procedurally compliant to start with. Her MP was tied up with Brexit. I’ve struggled to get essential information out of most of these parties. It’s possible the extra delay might help as well as hinder if it results in a change of staffing at the top of the CCG???

  11. Tom 3 months ago

    Hi

    I hope everyone is doing ok. This terrible virus and pandemic has obviously made things much more difficult. Which is what none of us need with regards to CHC.

    I had a question if anyone could offer their opinion?

    If, for example in years to come, a person receiving chc were to become more placid and therefore deemed not to need 1 to 1 or at worse doesn’t meet the need for funding, So , if we wanted to get some NHS fuding and therefore the individual’s financial position is means tested, can the authorities go back eg 10 years to find he had a property and he gave it way?

    ie how long can they go back is there a law?

    And with continuing healthcare award – is it illegal for a care home to ask a resident or residents family to give financial help if the resident has the full award – maybe in the form of a donation?

    Any help is very much appreciated. I feel so lost.

    Stay strong everyone

    Tom

    • Michelle wetherall 3 months ago

      Hi Tom,
      This is just my opinion! However, having learnt a lot about CHC and dealing with my relatives finances and probate, I know that the authorities can go back as far as possible, when investigating financial matters. There is no limit!
      The authorities would have to look at that time to determine if the person had significant health issues and would shortly be in need of care, to determine if they intentionally disposed of assets/house to deliberately avoid paying care home fees.
      If that can be proved beyond doubt and that person has been receiving NHS CHC funding since then, I would expect the authorities to try to recover the asset from those who benefited from the gift.
      Hope this helps?
      In terms of the home asking for money when a person has fully funded CHC, then this is wrong. Fully funded is exactly that Fully funded!
      I’m sure others will correct me, if I am wrong!

  12. Michelle wetherall 3 months ago

    Interesting!
    There shouldn’t be “huge back logs” as things begin to return to the “new normal”.
    We should never forget that this pandemic killed 32,000 people IN HOSPITAL and 16,000 in CARE HOMES!
    More than a thousand people died every day in the UK for 22 consecutive days over the Easter period.
    On Easter day 1,445 people died. Incredibly sad for all those families.
    Will there be an increasing demand on CHC because of the ageing population? I suggest that the loss of all these mostly elderly patients/residents will lessen the back log! Some have suggested that there will be a saving to the NHS/Government of 200 million a year because of the early deaths of these patients/residents. I welcome others opinions?
    I agree that more staff need to be recruited, but of a quality that is desperately needed to improve the service.
    Families should continue to demand CHC for their relatives and not be deterred by the thought that there aren’t funds available or that they shouldn’t “trouble the NHS” in times like these.
    This Government failed all those elderly patients that were discharged from hospital early into Care Homes without testing for COVID. They hastened the deaths of many by doing this and that in my book is unforgivable!
    They need to seek forgiveness from the rest of us by putting CHC/Social Care at the top of the agenda and stop playing with peoples lives!
    I urge everyone who is still fighting for CHC, to keep the pressure on!

    • Jenny 3 months ago

      Totally agree Michelle. I wonder whether it’s worth offering our services (knowledge of the CHC system and Framework) to any CCG or CSU struggling with a backlog? I’m guessing we’d be able to effectively train staff in fact not fiction, deal with correspondence and calls rather than diverting them to voicemail or dead numbers or ignoring letters and email, accurately assess evidence against criteria and spot what evidence is missing. We could deal with relatives and applicants with courtesy and compassion. Above all, I think we could hold them to their oft chanted mantra “Lessons will be learned”.

      Happy to quote an hourly rate and to work on a contract basis, but I’m guessing that knowledge, competence and a determination to get the system working fairly and professionally is the last thing they’re looking for.

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