NHS continuing healthcare is the name given to a package of care for individuals who are not in hospital but have significant ongoing health care needs. Patients can receive NHS continuing healthcare in any setting, including their own home or in a care home. The cost of NHS continuing healthcare is met by the NHS, unlike social care support provided by local authorities, for which a financial charge may be made to individuals, depending on their income and savings.
Anyone over 18 years of age assessed as having a certain level of care needs may be entitled to NHS continuing healthcare. If a patient is eligible in their own home, the NHS will pay for healthcare (e.g. services from a community nurse or specialist therapist) and associated social care needs (e.g. personal care and domestic tasks). In a care home, the NHS also pays for care home fees, including board and accommodation.
This investigation will set out the facts relating to NHS continuing healthcare in terms of who is eligible, the number of people applying, what the processes are and how long they take, and the costs to the NHS. In particular, it will examine equity of access.