Some people with long-term complex health needs may be able to receive free health and social care arranged and funded solely by the NHS. This is what is called NHS continuing healthcare.

What is NHS continuing healthcare?

NHS continuing healthcare is health and social care arranged by the NHS to meet the person’s needs.

Where can NHS continuing healthcare be provided?

NHS continuing healthcare can be provided in a variety of different places outside of hospital, including in a care home or in your own home.

Am I eligible for NHS continuing healthcare?

NHS continuing healthcare is for a person aged over 18.

To be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, you must be assessed by a team of health and social care professionals – known as a multidisciplinary team.

The team will look at your care needs and relate them to:

  • What help you need – what is the nature of your needs?

  • How complex your needs are

  • How intense your needs can be

  • How unpredictable they are, including any risks to your health if the right care is not provided at the right time

National framework for NHS continuing healthcare and NHS-funded nursing care – GOV.UK

Your eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare depends on your assessed needs, and not on any particular diagnosis, condition or prognosis. If your needs change then your eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare may change. You should be fully involved in the assessment process, kept informed and have your views about your needs and support taken into account. Carers and family members should also be consulted where appropriate.

How long does it take to find out if I am eligible?

A decision about eligibility following a full assessment for NHS continuing healthcare should usually be made within 28 days of an initial assessment or request for a full assessment. If you are not eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, you can be referred to your local council who can discuss with you whether you may be eligible for support from them.

How to apply for funding

Please contact your GP, district nurse, social worker or other health care professional who can advise on the appropriateness of NHS continuing healthcare. If appropriate they will make an application on your behalf. Please note that members of the public cannot apply directly for NHS continuing healthcare.

Dorset Advocacy are available to provide support and guidance to individuals wishing to apply for NHS continuing healthcare or request a review of an eligibility decision.

Can you tell me more about the NHS continuing healthcare process?