Combining social and health funding for future population
A report looking into social care and health funding says the NHS and social-care systems in England should be merged in the most radical overhaul since the 1940s.
The King’s Fund set up the independent Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England (AKA the Barker Commission) to explore what changes for health and social care might entail. Their final report was published this week.
Commenting on the news, Partner at Pearson Solicitors, Mike Talbot, who deals with care home neglect cases and client challenges for Continuing Health Care, said:
“Every day clients come into us with cases of gaps in the system and relatives who should not be paying for care. Family homes have been sold and inheritances dwindled down to nothing to pay for a loved one’s care when the NHS should be funding it, sadly however it sometimes comes down to a post code lottery.
“There appears to be a lot of confusion about who pays for what and who qualifies for funding,” he added. “Quite often we have been successful and recouped £1,000s in fees for clients that should have not been paid in the first place and I would certainly welcome any clarity on this moving forward.”
Currently the NHS is free at the point of need, while payment for care homes, nursing homes and home support is mostly means-tested, but in appropriate cases can be challenged and paid for via NHS Continuing Health Care irrespective of personal wealth.
The report said a merger of the two systems was necessary because our ageing population and rise in long-term illnesses had blurred the lines between the two.
The commission compared the care given to cancer patients, who get their treatment free, with the support needed to help people with dementia, which often falls into the means-tested social-care system.
Continuing Healthcare is care provided by professionals over an extended period of time to meet the physical or mental health needs of a patient. These could have been caused by disability, accident or illness and continuing care needs are likely to be complex and substantial, with ongoing care needed.
It is funded by the NHS and can be provided either in a care home or your own home.
In 1999 a landmark ruling said the NHS was responsible for funding if the primary reason for extended care was a health need and each Primary Care Trust has its own procedures for dealing with such requests.
If you need ongoing healthcare outside of hospital, such as in a care home or in your own home, then the NHS will pay for your care needs in full irrespective of your means if you qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare.
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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
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