Report unpicks complexity of continuing healthcare
A report on an investigation into NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) by the National Audit Office has found that there is significant variation between areas administered by different Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in both the number and proportion of people assessed as eligible for CHC.
The investigation also found that, owing to the complexity of assessment protocols, there may be differences in the way CCGs are interpreting the national framework to assess whether people are eligible for CHC. The report said there was a shortage of data on CHC, which made it difficult to know whether eligibility decisions were being made fairly and consistently. For example, no data are collected on how many individuals appeal to the CCG against unsuccessful CHC funding decisions, the first stage of the appeals process.
Care provider representative body Care England welcomed the report, saying it unpicked some of the complexity behind Continuing Healthcare. The organisation’s chief executive, Professor Martin Green, said the actual commissioning of CHC was equally as concerning with a lack of CCG engagement with care home providers, a lack of understanding of care home costs, and fees that simply didn’t cover costs, all of which exacerbated the recruitment and retention of nurses and threatened the stability of the care home sector.
“The proposals in the report from NHS England to make costs savings in procurement therefore will be built on sand,” said Prof. Green.
“The NAO report reinforces what our members are telling us in that assessments for eligibility take too long, causing distress to residents and families.
“In order for CHC to deliver its objective, namely better care for people, CCGs must engage with the care sector and pay appropriate fees.”
- The NAO’s Report can be found at https://www.nao.org.uk/report/nhs-continuing-healthcare-investigation/