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In the News: The Times and NHS continuing healthcare funding

The article in The Times provides a stark overview into the difficulties patients experience when applying for NHS continuing healthcare funding even when there is a clear case for providing it.

The recent ‘A nightmare to apply for, a struggle to keep — continuing healthcare is a persistent pain’ article by Ali Hussain in The Times article reiterates our own findings when dealing with the NHS continuing healthcare process. All too often, as highlighted in the article, staff don’t seem to be aware of the funding, or don’t know how to carry out the assessment.

Indeed, in our recent article ‘We’d never heard of NHS continuing healthcare funding’, we discussed the fact that a report by the Continuing Healthcare Alliance, a group of 13 organisations who believe NHS continuing healthcare needs to improve, highlighted that 39% of NHS professionals (social workers, GPs, hospital doctors and nurses) found the assessment process was too complicated. When the system is too complex for the NHS professionals to understand, it is easy to see why patients aren’t receiving information or assistance in a timely manner.

Unsurprisingly, The Times reports that complaints over who should pay for people with complex needs have hit a record high. It states that:

There were 628 complaints about CHC funding in the 12 months to the end of April, according to figures obtained by Money from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. This is almost double the 319 received five years ago.

Unfortunately, speaking to distressed families each day, these figures aren’t a surprise and simply demonstrates further the struggle some families endure to convince the NHS of a relative’s needs.

According to the National Audit Office (NAO), 24,901 people waited longer than 28 days for a decision to be made regarding their eligibility for continuing healthcare funding. The national framework states that in most cases people should not wait more than 28 days. Additionally, the NAO found that the proportion of successful applications for NHS continuing healthcare funding has dropped from 34% to 29% over the past five years.

To ensure the highest prospect of success in securing NHS continuing healthcare funding, it pays dividends to receive expert advice from industry experts who have a strong track record of securing funding on behalf of their clients. With 78% of NHS professionals reporting that the NHS CHC process is ‘difficult or very difficult’ for patients and their families to understand (CHC Alliance ‘Continuing to Care Report’), it is understandable that so many patients turn to industry experts like Compass CHC for help.

To recap, NHS continuing healthcare (or NHS CHC) is free healthcare provided by the NHS to individuals who have significant healthcare needs; this need must be assessed as complex, substantial and on-going.

The NHS CHC package of care can be received in any setting outside of hospital including care homes, hospices or even within your own home. A person’s health needs, not their location, is the key factor to receiving continuing healthcare funding.

Very importantly, it must be noted that it doesn’t matter what your income is or what savings you have, if you meet the criteria, you are entitled to free NHS CHC funding. Remember, NHS continuing healthcare funding is not means tested and it can cover up to 100% of care costs.

At Compass CHC, our team of continuing healthcare experts, comprising lawyers (non-practising) and clinicians (including nurses, tissue viability specialists and pharmacists), review and consider the evidence from a clinical perspective before drafting reasoned arguments which identify an individual’s entitlement to the funding by cross-referring the medical evidence to the National Framework for continuing healthcare criteria.

Further, our advocates are all (non-practising) lawyers specialising exclusively in continuing healthcare funding matters.  Compass CHC does not undertake work in any other area which means we have accumulated vast experience attending assessments and appeal hearings at local and NHS England level and we are not distracted by work of other natures

If you have significant ongoing health needs we, at Compass CHC, can help you obtain NHS continuing healthcare funding. Complete our free, confidential assessment today and an expert member of our team will contact you for a no obligation discussion to outline your options.

Author: Tim Davies LLB

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