Thank you for contacting me about NHS Continuing Healthcare.
As I am sure you are aware, the Government has committed to provide the NHS with an additional £33.9 billion by 2023/24; this is the largest, longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS, and is confirmed in law by the NHS Funding Act 2020. This landmark settlement investment to help secure the long term future of our NHS is extremely welcome, and I hope you agree it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to properly funding our NHS and public services. In addition, the Government has allocated £52 billion funding for frontline health services to tackle the pandemic.
The NHS Long Term Plan contains a commitment to an uplift of £4.5bn in primary and community care, helping to strengthen local healthcare networks. This will help to deliver a better integrated service for patients across all their care needs.
The Government is committed to delivering an NHS which provides personalised care, closer to home and according to patient need. The NHS’s Five Year Forward View highlights the importance of raising standards and providing integrated services for everyone.
The National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare was established in 2007 and lays the foundations for improved standard practice. In 2013, the Government made it mandatory for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and NHS England to follow this framework, creating a new legal obligation.
NHS England must be assured that CCGs are complying with the National Framework and since 2015/16, NHS Continuing Healthcare has been included in the assurance processes for CCGs. The framework lays out the expectation for CCGs to engage in a person-centred approach, ensuring the individual, and their representative, is fully aware of, and involved in, the processes. Upon completion of the assessment, a clear explanation of how the decision of eligibility was reached should be provided, as well as an explanation of the appeals process.
One of the priority areas that the assurance process focuses on is that the ‘assessment and decision making processes are lawful, high quality and timely’. This ensures that CCG policies and procedures are compliant with the National Framework as well as improving the consistency of NHS CHC assessments across the NHS.
As you will know, the National Audit Office has concluded an investigation into NHS Continuing Healthcare. Their report is comprehensive, and the Government will give the findings in the report due consideration. NHS England have also launched an NHS Continuing Healthcare Strategic Improvement Programme, the objective of which is to provide fair access to NHS Continuing Health Care, with the aim of ensuring better outcomes, better experiences and better use of resources.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Sally-Ann Hart MP