Lack of funding awareness compromising care
A report from the Public Accounts Committee has urged the Government to improve the current funding process for those with continuing healthcare needs.
It states that due to the lack of awareness and navigational problems with the application process for CHC funding, the care for the most vulnerable in society is being compromised.
As well as the complexity of the process, the report also drew attention to delayed assessments which leave people waiting to find out if they are eligible to benefit in the first place. Alarmingly, it said that in some cases, people have died whilst waiting to hear a decision.
The number of people assessed as eligible also saw a high level of variation between different areas, something which has been attributed to assessment criteria being interpreted inconsistently by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
Whilst the report states that both the Department of Health and NHS England acknowledge that the current system is not operating as well as it should, it states that not enough is being done to make sure CCGs are addressing the “unnacceptable” variation in funding.
Commenting on the report was Meg Hillier. The Committee Chair and MP highlighted the wider impact of limited access to funding as well as the need for the Government to take steps to address this.
“Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis have devastating effects on sufferers and their loved ones. Help with meeting the costs of ongoing care can make a critical difference to their quality of life.
It is therefore distressing to see the system intended to support such people fall short on so many fronts.
Oversight of CHC funding has been poor and NHS England’s demand that clinical commissioning groups make big efficiency savings will only add to the financial pressures on the frontline.
Government must step in now to ensure people with continuing healthcare needs are aware of the help available and that those eligible for funding receive essential care in a timely and consistent manner.”
The report can be accessed here.