Struggling to get NHS Continuing Healthcare in the New Forest?
Life Matters for Lymington from Lester Aldridge: update and advice
Following up on their previous article on this important subject, this month's Life Matters for Lymington from Lester Aldridge reports on a subject which has been in the national press a lot lately: accessing NHS funded Continuing Healthcare.
As always, please share this article with anyone you know who might find it useful.
The trials and tribulations of accessing NHS Continuing Healthcare: an update
The Sunday Express and Daily Telegraph have recently reported on the difficulty of accessing NHS Continuing Healthcare. The common questions are, what is NHS Continuing Healthcare, what is the impact and why can it be a challenge to secure NHS Continuing Healthcare funded status.
What is NHS Continuing Healthcare?
NHS Continuing Healthcare is a non-means tested complete package of ongoing care that is arranged and funded purely by the NHS where an adult has been assessed and discovered to have a ‘primary health need’ caused by an injury, illness or disability. This applies not only to those in later life, but also equally to adults living with a disability who have health needs.
What is the effect of NHS Continuing Healthcare funding?
In practical terms, eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare means the NHS is responsible for care provision and meeting all of the associated costs. NHS Continuing Healthcare can be provided in any setting and could cover the cost of accommodation if this is necessary to meet assessed care needs.
The continuing trials and tribulations of accessing NHS Continuing Healthcare
Recent NHS England data suggests obtaining NHS Continuing Healthcare remains very difficult.
A small 24% of eligibility assessments in the first quarter of 2019-2020 resulted in NHS Continuing Healthcare funding. The 24% conversion rate remains the same as the rate for the last quarter of 2018-2019.
Potentially a postcode lottery
Further concern is the NHS England data, which suggests that despite the revised National Framework, which attempted to clarify assessment principles and processes to improve access to funding, NHS Continuing Healthcare funding could be a postcode lottery.
The Sunday Express highlighted in a recent article on Freedom of Information figures which suggest you may be more likely to secure NHS Continuing Healthcare funded status if you live in the North than if you reside in the South.
How long will NHS Continuing Healthcare funding last?
As NHS Continuing Healthcare funding is needs based, a decision of eligibility does not mean a patient is guaranteed to receive a non-means tested package of care, funded by the NHS for life. Funding is subject to an Annual Review 3 months after the eligibility decision, and annually thereafter.
We continue to see the number of Annual Reviews increase, which are used to withdraw funding, particularly in cases of patients with progressive medical conditions.
Often these decisions lack evidential merit and it is key to be prepared to challenge non-eligibility decisions or the withdrawal by way of an appeal.
The Community Care Team’s Top Tips
Lester Aldridge Solicitors have a dedicated Community Care team, managed by friendly Partners who have a wealth of knowledge in this area.
"To secure NHS Continuing Healthcare funding first and foremost requires patience and an acceptance that it could be a lengthy process. It is best to think of the NHS Continuing Healthcare journey as a marathon, not a sprint."
Working with applicants the team can help to achieve success with:
- A detailed working knowledge of the revised National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare.
- The ability to clearly and coherently advocate family views.
- A forensic analysis of the available evidence to facilitate the presentation of evidenced-based arguments which apply the evidence to the assessment criteria in a structured way.
- Preparation of written submissions to support the eligibility assessments and appeals.
- If you do not succeed after the initial eligibility assessment, it is good to prepare detailed written submissions which prove any procedural failings and the reasons why the evidence suggests eligibility should have been awarded.
If you are struggling to secure funding and would like some support and advice from the team read on.
Free initial consultation with the Community Care team at Lester Aldridge
By clicking this link to the Lester Aldridge Comunity Care team you can contact them for a free initial consultation with one of the team.
Or simply call 0344 967 0793 and ask for a member of the Community Care team.
Life Matters for Lymington and the New Forest
For a full list of all the Life Matters articles by Lester Aldrige Solicitors published on Lymington.com so that you can read the ones which interest you, please click this link
About Lester Aldridge
Lester Aldridge Solicitors are based in London and Bournemouth where the office covering the New Forest is situated conveniently close to the main Bournemouth train station. Their specialist teams in the various fields of law will be happy to advise and assist you, starting with a completely free initial consultation during which you can decide whether you feel able to trust them with your confidential information. To learn more about Lester Aldridge including testimonials you can click here.