The Government launched new guidance in August 2020 setting out how NHS continuing healthcare (NHSCHC) will be reintroduced in England from 1st September 2020.
During the pandemic the Government set up emergency COVID-19 funding to allow hospital beds to be vacated as quickly as possible, whilst ensuring that everyone had the necessary care and support in place following discharge.
Hospital discharges continue to be arranged as soon as it is clinically appropriate to do so. Where a patient has a new care need upon discharge, then their care may be funded for a period of 6 weeks to allow post discharge recovery and to enable the necessary assessments to be undertaken by the NHS or the local authority.
If the assessments have not been carried out within the 6-week period, then the care should continue to be funded by the NHS or the local authority.
Where a new or enhanced care package was required for hospital discharges which took place between 19th March and 31st August 2020, this should have been paid for using the emergency COVID-19 funding. This funding should remain in place until the necessary assessments have taken place.
If, following the assessment, patients no longer qualify for NHS continuing healthcare, then the funding of the care should pass to the local authority who will then proceed to determine eligibility for local authority funding.
Any funds paid towards care fees whilst waiting for an NHS continuing healthcare assessment, whether personally or by the local authority, should be refunded in line with the National Framework, if eligibility to NHS continuing healthcare is proved following assessment.
From 1st September 2020 the NHS should be undertaking all NHS continuing healthcare work again, including existing claims, work deferred during the pandemic and new NHS continuing healthcare referrals.
There is a waiting list of approximately 25,000 people to be assessed and the Government has confirmed that extra staff could be put in place to assist with the backlog, if required.
In order to deal with the backlog, assessments may be carried out in person or remotely, for example by video conferencing, alongside the required care and medical records.
If a positive checklist was carried out but a full NHS continuing healthcare assessment was delayed due to COVID-19, the NHS is able to start the process again by carrying out a new checklist to determine current level of need.
Our specialist Vulnerable Client team is happy to advise you or a member of your family if you require assistance navigating a way through during the NHS continuing healthcare process. For more information speak to Lucie Glover on 01227 763939.