New National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare
The Department of Health and Social Care has published a brand new National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS funded Nursing Care.
The new July 2022 (revised) National Framework sets out in detail how eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding should be assessed and the full document can be found on the government’s website.
This is not the first time that this guidance has been revised, but it comes alongside a significant overhaul to the health system, brought about by the Health and Care Act 2022.
Those in the know will remember when, in 2013, Primary Care Trusts (or PCTs) came to an end and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were born. Since that time, CCGs were synonymous with care funding in any given local area and have been people’s port of call to get an NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment arranged.
The Health and Care Act 2022 however seeks to ensure better health and social care integration by hailing the arrival of Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) to replace CCGs.
The new National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare arrives alongside these changes, but it seemingly does not bring about any changes to the eligibility criteria. There are, however, certain changes, particularly to the way in which assessments should be approached.
A change of practical importance for people starting their journey through the healthcare system is the reinforcement of the relatively new stance that NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments should not really be undertaken in hospital and should wait until after discharge into the community.
In the old days, Continuing Healthcare assessments would often take place in hospital, so that if you had a Primary Health Need at the point of discharge, you left hospital eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare.
The October 2018 National Framework saw a shift away from that approach, stating that it was preferable for an assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare to take place after discharge from hospital, but the new National Framework July 2022 (revised) goes further; suggesting that it should only be in rare circumstances that an assessment takes place in hospital.
Whilst the position is therefore somewhat clearer, there is still no hard and fast rule on assessment before hospital discharge. It seems to me that although much has to depend on the individual circumstances, professionals are likely to firmly resist pre-discharge assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, and individuals will no doubt need to be proactive in seeking an assessment of their eligibility once in the community.
James Urquhart-Burton of Ridley & Hall is nationally known for his expertise in the care fee sector, most notably NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding. Get in touch with James on our freephone 0800 8 60 62 65.