How does Chancellor announcement on NHS funding affect Continuing Healthcare Funding?
In the recent budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne confirmed a real terms increase in NHS funding for 2015-2016. However critics have highlighted that there is no mention of extra money in the budget and commentators have also pointed out that there are now 400,000 fewer people getting publicly funded social care help.
The next five years of the NHS is outlined in the Five Year Forward view. This sets out ambitious efficiency savings for the next five years that go beyond those delivered in the last five years. Lee Baker, Head of Care Home Fees examines how these funding pressures might affect Continuing Healthcare Funding.
“Many people entering residential care or people with a family member in nursing care due to a primary healthcare need don’t realise that they may be eligible for Continuing Healthcare Funding and so they pay for this care themselves. There are many conditions that constitute a primary health need – examples include Dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as other health conditions such as suffering a stroke. In our work helping people reclaim care home fees we often find that patients have been wrongly assessed or sometimes not assessed at all.
“NHS funding pressures are unlikely to mean that there will be any improvements in the assessment service or that more patients will be drawn into the assessment service. It’s also unlikely that there will be increased promotion of Continuing Health Care Funding and that more people will become aware of their eligibility for this funding. In particular many people aren’t clear that this funding is not means tested but rather is based on a health care need.
“Those who are aware of Continuing Healthcare Funding and who decide to pursue funding on their own behalf or on the behalf of a relative then find that the process is opaque. When someone needs care then their need would either be classed as social or a health care need. Social care and health care are each dealt with by different government departments. In the case of a health care need there is often a long wait for an available review date. The review meeting itself is one where complex information is shared and we’ve found that some patients are assessed incorrectly resulting in families needlessly paying care home fees. That’s why we’ve developed our Nurse Assessor service. Using this service means that you or your relative is accompanied during the assessment and this reduces the risk of an incorrect assessment being made.
“Again, the pressures on funding are unlikely to mean that there will be an improvement in the support offered to people looking to access Continuing Health Care Funding. Some people will undoubtedly be wrongly assessed. That’s why we’ve developed a service to help people reclaim care home fees.
“Media commentators agree that the next parliament, of whatever political colour, will involve more cuts. For me that means that the services we’ve developed are likely to be in even greater demand. Time will tell whether my prediction bears out.”
Content correct at time of publication.