This paper considers the eligibility criteria for NHS continuing healthcare funding in England - with particular focus on the revised framework guidance issued by the Department of Health in July 2009. It commences with a brief review of the tensions that exist between the guidance and the law (in the form of court judgments) and provides an overview of the aspects of the guidance of most relevance to those working with disabled people with severe head and spinal injuries. The paper advises how professionals involved in this difficult area should interpret the new materials so as to reach an outcome in individual cases that is in accordance with the law. It suggests, however, that even with the July 2009 revisions, the framework and the associated decision support tool remain problematic. The paper concludes with a cautionary note, that the recent increase in the numbers of patients qualifying for NHS continuing healthcare funding may be attributable, not to the detail of the framework, but to the Department of Health's rhetoric of change and the additional monies that it has made available to primary care trusts (PCTs) for this sector.
Social Care and Neurodisability – Pier Professional
Published: May 1, 2010