Wide variations in the provision of NHS Continuing Care funding for people with dementia have been uncovered in a new report by Sally Keeble, former MP and Labour prospective parliamentary candidate.
NHS Continuing Healthcare is a funding package to provide free healthcare for people with severe health needs.
Ms Keeble surveyed 162 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and found that:
- There is a lack of funding for advocacy services to provide help and support for families applying for continuing healthcare support. Only four CCGs identified specific funding for advocacy.
- The role of family carers in the decision-making process is frequently unclear.
- Training of assessors is variable, with six CCGs saying they did not provide any training.
The report calls for a review of how Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) assess people for continuing healthcare funding to protect against a postcode lottery.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“People with dementia can often require round the clock care, putting huge strain on families and individuals both emotionally and financially. The financial support provided by NHS Continuing Healthcare is a lifeline for people with dementia and their carers. Callers to our Dementia Helpline tell us that applying for continuing healthcare for a loved one with dementia is a minefield. All too often we hear of families who are refused funding because their local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) does not adhere to proper process. It is entirely unacceptable that there is no duty on CCGs to fund advocacy services – which are essential to support families through the complex assessment process. A thorough review of NHS Continuing Care is needed to ensure vulnerable people are not unfairly disadvantaged by a flawed and poorly implemented system.”