What is NHS continuing care and how do I know if I'm eligible?

NHS continuing care is for people with ongoing health needs Credit: Reuters

What is continuing care?

The NHS says it is a package of continuing healthcare provided outside hospital, arranged and funded solely by the NHS, for people with ongoing healthcare needs.

How much will I have to pay?

Nothing - continuing healthcare is free and paid for by the NHS. It does not depend on income or savings.

Who is eligible for continuing healthcare?

People who qualify are likely to have a complex medical condition that requires a lot of care and support or need highly specialised nursing support, the NHS says.

They add that eligibility does not depend on a specific health condition, illness or diagnosis, or on who provides the care, or where the care is provide.

How do I know if I'm eligible?

To decide if a person is eligible for continuing healthcare the NHS say they will need to be assessed by a health or social care professional. The individual will have an initial screening which will help decide whether they could be eligible for continuing care. If this is positive a full assessment of their care needs will then be carried out by a multidisciplinary team.

For individuals who need an urgent care package because their condition is deteriorating a fast track system can be implemented.

Where is continuing care provided?

The NHS says that those who are eligible can receive continuing healthcare in any setting. For example:

  • In your own home: the NHS will pay for healthcare, such as services from a community nurse or specialist therapist, and personal care, such as help with bathing, dressing and laundry.

  • In a care home: as well as healthcare and personal care, the NHS will pay for your care home fees, including board and accommodation

Why haven't I heard of it before?

Our correspondent Paul Brand has found that six out of 10 Primary Care Trusts do not advertise the service but it could help save you thousands of pounds a month.

He also reveals that the Primary Care Trusts to provide the most elderly care funding in England are Darlington, Northumberland, Salford, Sheffield, Hull, Peterborough, Barking and Dagenham.

But the worst are Blackburn and Darwen, Trafford, Brighton and Hove, Berkshire West, Oxfordshire, Milton Keynes, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham.

For more details on continuing care visit the NHS website.

A full table of the number of people receiving NHS continuing care per Primary Care Trust can be found here.