Continuing to care? Is NHS continuing healthcare supporting the people who need it in England?

SCIE Social Care Online
Parkinson's UK
Publication date:
01 January 2016


This report looks into the current state of NHS continuing healthcare in England, free healthcare provided outside of hospital funded by the NHS, and examines whether it is supporting the people who need it most. It draws on evidence from across England, including a survey for people who had applied for NHS CHC, a survey for professionals working on NHS CHC; and a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England. It presents findings in the following areas: the provision of information and advice; the way professionals conduct assessments; how the Decision Support Tool is used; the delays experienced by people applying; the appeals process; the provision of care; the impact of regular reassessments; the lack of consistency and consequences; and improving the data collected. Examples of service users' experience are included to illustrate key issues. The results reported include that people lacked access to independent information and advice; the 28 day decision timeline for NHS CHC was often not adhered to; appeals were lengthy; and reassessments put people through unnecessary stress. In addition, those that are awarded NHS CHC often did not have enough care to meet their needs. Recommendations to improve NHS CHC include: to ensure professionals in multidisciplinary teams are experienced when making decisions around NHS CHC and have knowledge of the person, needs and aspirations; to ensure packages of care are needs-driven and not purely financially motivated; and to ensure health and social care professionals proactively signpost individuals to NHS CHC and promote independent advocacy and support at every stage.