We investigate why the NHS is so poor at signposting its patients to continuing healthcare funding.
FAQ: ‘We’d never heard of NHS continuing healthcare funding, it’s not advertised anywhere at our hospital or GP surgery?’
By the very nature of its existence – to provide funding to those with severe, complex and on-going health issues – the NHS continuing healthcare pot of money is needed by patients when they are at their most vulnerable. Yet, a staggering 60% of people surveyed by the Continuing Healthcare Alliance, a group of 13 organisations who believe NHS continuing healthcare needs to improve, did not know about the existence of the funding until very late in their dealings with the health and social care system.
All too often the experience of applying for NHS continuing healthcare funding can be a distressing one for patients or their families due to the lack of clear, helpful information and support from their health and social care teams as 65% of the Alliance survey respondents ascertained. Indeed, the Alliance state that “all too often people slip into that void where no one gives them the advice they need” (page 6, CHC Alliance ‘Continuing to Care Report’).
Unfortunately, the lack of signposting from health and social care professionals (unbelievably, only 3% of people in the CHC Alliance report had found out about the possibility of funding from their GP) means countless individuals may be wrongly paying for their healthcare and facing a worrying financial future as these care costs continue to pile up. Even more worryingly, the Alliance report that only 15% were informed by their hospital doctor or nurse before discharge. Significantly however, the report also 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 even for the NHS professionals to understand, it is easy to see why patients aren’t receiving information or assistance in a timely manner.
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.
In order 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.
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