NHS continuing healthcare is a two-step process. The first step is an initial assessment called a checklist. The second step is a full assessment for NHS continuing healthcare.
Step 1: Checklist
Your NHS health practitioner or social worker will consider whether it is appropriate to complete a checklist. There are many situations where it is not necessary to complete a checklist. These include:
If a checklist is needed it will be completed. Before a checklist is completed the process should be discussed with you and you should be provided with the public information leaflet produced by the Department of Health & Social Care. You or your family, carers or other representative should be included in its completion.
You will also be asked to provide consent in order that NHS Dorset can share information with your family or representative. If you would like further information about how we use and share your data please visit our information and sharing page.
Depending on the outcome of the checklist, you will either be told that you don’t meet the criteria for a full assessment of NHS continuing healthcare, or you’ll be referred to NHS Dorset for a full assessment of NHS continuing healthcare eligibility. If you are referred for a full assessment this does not mean you are eligible for NHS continuing healthcare only that you should be considered.
NHS Dorset will arrange an appointment to complete the NHS continuing healthcare full assessment. NHS Dorset is required to undertake and complete the assessment within 28 days of being notified that an assessment is due, and your appointment date will reflect this. If you are unable to make this appointment, we would ask that you discuss this with us as soon as possible. Only in exceptional circumstances will this appointment be rearranged.
Step 2: Full assessment
The assessment does not take place in hospital as this is not the best place to make long-term decisions about your ongoing care. A full assessment is only undertaken when your condition is stable and your ongoing health care needs are clear. If you are being discharged from hospital further information is available at Home First – helping you recover at home.
Seven key things to know:
Review of the decision
You can ask NHS Dorset for a review of your eligibility decision. This needs to be done within six months from the date of your decision letter.
The Department of Health & Social Care guidance states that if someone is determined as not eligible the ‘not eligible’ decision stands until the review process is completed which may or may not uphold the initial decision.
NHS Dorset will cease funding from the date of the decision but will give 28 days’ notice from the date of the decision letter to cease funding.
If after completing the review you still remain unhappy with the eligibility decision, you can make a referral to NHS England who will independently review the decision. NHS England have produced a public information guide.
What happens if I am eligible for support?
If you’re eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, the next stage is to arrange a care and support package that meets your assessed needs. Depending on your situation, different options could be suitable, including:
NHS Dorset will work collaboratively with you and consider your views when agreeing your care and support package and the setting where it will be provided. However, NHS Dorset can also take other factors into account, such as the cost and value for money of different options.
It can take some time to source care, which is dependent on individual circumstances, the level of care required and the availability of care in the area in which you live. There is a national shortage of care workers across all health and care services which may impact on the availability and choice of care offered to you.
The care that NHS Dorset offers will always be determined as clinically safe. Due to the restricted availability of care, the option provided will be the best that NHS Dorset is able to offer. You always have the right to decline care and to source and fund an alternative yourself should you decide to do so. Further information can be found within NHS Dorset’s Choice & Equity Policy.
If NHS Dorset agrees to fund your care, you will be asked to provide copies of relevant invoices/receipts and corresponding bank statements in order to arrange reimbursement for any care you have paid for from the date of the eligibility decision until we have arranged to fund the package of care.
NHS Dorset will only meet direct care costs. Other incidental costs such as hairdressing, chiropody and newspapers will not be met.
Personal health budgets
From April 2014 anyone eligible for NHS continuing healthcare wanting to have their care provided outside of a care home setting, may be able to receive the money they need to meet their healthcare needs as a personal health budget, in the form of a direct payment. This gives people a greater choice over how, when and who provides their care and support.
If you’re eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, your needs and support package will normally be reviewed within three months and thereafter at least annually. This review will consider whether your existing care and support package meets your assessed needs. If your needs have changed, the review will also consider whether you’re still eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.
If your needs change in the future, you may cease to be entitled to NHS continuing healthcare funding. If this happens and care and support is still required, NHS Dorset will refer you to the local authority for an assessment of your community care needs.
If your health is rapidly deteriorating and you may be entering the terminal phase, you should be considered for fast-track funding so that an appropriate care and support package can be put in place as soon as possible. In the fast-track pathway, there is no requirement to complete a checklist or the decision support tool. Instead, an appropriate clinician will complete the fast-track tool to establish your eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare.
(Please note that this video was created before the COVID-19 pandemic. All assessments are done virtually by default unless in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of NHS Dorset).
This clinician will send the completed fast-track tool directly to NHS Dorset to assess whether you meet the criteria. If so, NHS Dorset will arrange for a care package to be provided for you.
NHS Dorset choice & equity policy
NHS continuing healthcare operational policy