NHS seeks views on fairer, sustainable funding for Continuing Healthcare
Patients receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding and their carers and families are being urged to give their views on making funding fairer and sustainable for all eligible patients across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
The local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG, Leicester City CCG and West Leicestershire CCG – who plan and pay for local healthcare services, are reviewing the current ‘Settings of Care’ policy.
This is the policy that determines how and when CCGs will support individual choice of care setting (e.g. care at home, in a care home or elsewhere) for people receiving CHC funding. It also guides the level of funding for providing care in that setting and includes criteria which ensure individual circumstances are taken into account.
The existing policy has been in place since 2011. It pre-dates recent developments such as Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) which provide an amount of money to individuals with identified health and wellbeing needs to support care. The care is planned and agreed between individuals, families and their local NHS team.
The CCGs in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland want to ensure the refreshed policy takes into account the introduction of PHBs and that it enables:
- robust, fair consistent and transparent commissioning decisions by the CCGs
- consistency in the services that individuals are offered
- value for money in the purchasing of services for individuals
- effective partnership working between healthcare providers, NHS bodies and the Local Authorities in the area
- individual choice as far as is reasonably possible
There are currently over 1,300 people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who receive NHS Continuing Healthcare funding. On an annual basis in LLR we spend more on CHC funding than the majority of other areas across England, spending over £73.5million in 2015/16.
At a time when pressures on the NHS have never been greater with an ageing population and a significant increase in the number of people who need CHC funding, the CCGs have a duty to ensure that services are clinically and financially sustainable and that everyone who is eligible has access to appropriate care. We will be taking these things into account as we review the policy.
The CCGs have written to all patients receiving CHC funding to make them aware of their opportunity to give their views and to influence the refresh of the existing policy. Formal public consultation may follow if significant changes are proposed.
Dr Hilary Fox, local GP and Governing Body member of East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG, the lead commissioners for continuing healthcare in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, said:
“It’s important that everyone who is eligible for NHS continuing healthcare benefits from the highest quality of care and has equal access to funding both now and in the future. With the introduction of Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) and the challenges posed by increasing numbers of people needing NHS Continuing Healthcare funding, we need to look carefully at the local policy to ensure it balances personal choice with available funding and equitable care for all.
“Changes to this policy could mean changes to the care people receive in future so we urge everyone currently receiving funding, their families and their carers to take time to complete our survey and share their views. We must stress however, that no changes have yet been made and that we are committed to taking into account public views. Once the policy has been refreshed and approved, any changes would be applied at patients’ next annual review or, in the case of new patients, at the point people are determined eligible for Continuing Healthcare funding.”
In addition to writing to all patients this could affect, CCGs are also holding an event to enable them to find out more and to ask questions. Anyone with concerns or queries in the meantime can also contact CCGs on 0116 295 3405 or via email at [email protected]
Patients who receive packages of care funded by the Local Authority will not be affected by the Settings of Care policy review.
The closing date for the survey is Wednesday 27 July.
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