NHS calls for views on fairer and sustainable Continuing Healthcare

NHS calls for views on fairer and sustainable Continuing Healthcare

19th January 2017

Members of the public and local patients receiving Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding are being invited to take part in a public consultation on changes to a policy which aims to make CHC funding fairer and sustainable for all eligible patients across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR).

The local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) responsible for LLR - East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG, Leicester City CCG and West Leicestershire CCG are proposing changes to the current ‘Settings of Care’ policy.

This policy 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.

There are currently over 1,300 people in LLR 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.

In June and July this year, the CCGs wrote 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. A survey and engagement event enabled people to find out more and ask questions. The feedback along with developments such as PHBs, were considered before the current policy was reviewed and changes proposed.

Over the next six weeks, people will have the opportunity to share their views on the proposed changes, which are:
• A reduction to the current 25% spending limit – the current policy allows the CCGs to spend up to 25% more than the most cost effective option to provide care in a setting of a patient’s choice. There are two options for change to
this limit.
• The introduction of clearer exceptionality criteria - such as someone at the very end of their life.
• The implementation of guidelines to reduce clinical risk - 24-hour care from a registered nurse would only be provided in a nursing home and hospital level care would only be provided in a specialist unit.
• Use of registered care settings - we will try to offer and place patients with preferred care providers. If their choice is not available, to meet reasonable assessed care needs, we may place people with an alternative care provider
who meets the requirements.

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: “Our priority is to ensure that everybody eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, has equal access to funding now and in the future and that they benefit from the highest quality of care.

“An ageing population and a significant increase in the number of people who need CHC funding means the NHS is experiencing increasing pressure. The current position is not sustainable for the local health economy and does not demonstrate that we are spending money in the best way for patients. We have a set budget that has to cover the healthcare needs of all local people. We also have to make decisions fairly and ensure that all those eligible for CHC have equal access to healthcare funding.

“Changes to the 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 part in the consultation by completing the survey or coming along to our event. We are committed to taking into account public feedback and will be looking at this very carefully before any decisions are made.”

Responses to the consultation will be independently analysed and the findings will be thoroughly examined and discussed by doctors, healthcare professionals and managers. They will produce a recommendation, which will go before the Governing Bodies of all three local CCGs for a final decision.

Any changes to the policy that are approved 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.

The consultation runs for six weeks and people can share their views in a number of ways.

A survey will be sent directly to all patients this could affect and CCGs are also holding an event on Thursday 19 January, between 10am and 12pm at Leicester Racecourse in Oadby, to enable patients and members of the public to find out more and to ask questions.

Information about the consultation and an online version of the survey can be found at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/SettingsofCare2017

Anyone with concerns or queries can contact East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG on 0116 295 3405 or via email at enquiries@eastleicestershireandrutlandccg.nhs.uk

People 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 consultation survey is Monday 20 February.