Free nursing care: what does it mean?
By Andrew Chapman The Government is going to provide “free nursing care” for all older people currently paying their own nursing home fees Â and is no doubt able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But can it deliver what it promises? In July the Department of HealthÂ¹s Draft Guidance to Implement Free Nursing Care appeared (albeit with three appendices missing), inviting responses by mid-August and announcing that the new system would be implemented on 1st October this year. The new system entails nurses assessing self-funding residents in care homes, using a specially developed assessment tool Â the Registered Nursing Care Contribution (RNCC) tool. Minister of health Jacqui Smith optimistically predicts that it will take between 10 and 15 minutes to use the tool to apportion all 35,000 residents receiving nursing care in homes to one of three bands based on their need. Those needing the least care will receive a subsidy worth Â£35 per week; those assessed as being within the two other bands would