PCTs Reduce Continuing Care Numbers

Elderly Care

13.03.2008

According to figures published by the Department of Health, more than a quarter of primary care trusts (PCTS) are now giving NHS "continuing care" to less adults.

Despite guidance intended to boost provision, the figures demonstrate that 44 PCTs reduced the number between April and December 2007.

Designed for adults to help with washing, eating and dressing because they are severely sick and disabled, NHS continuing care is a free service that is otherwise means-tested by councils.

In October, guidelines were introduced to ensure that eligibility for the free care was consistent nationally after which the Department of Health (DH) expected to see a 32 percent increase in the number of people receiving continuing care, an additional 5,500 people.

Despite a national increase of 17 per cent and investment from the DH of £220m into the scheme PCTs such as Hull and Peterborough reported rate decreases of 54-81 percent.

The figures within the study report the number of adults receiving continuing care per 50,000 people, with PCTs such as Harrow acknowledging a decrease of five percent in the first nine months of 2007-08, when numbers dropped from 77 to 73 per 50,000.

Yogi Amin from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "PCTs are under an obligation to provide the very best care to vulnerable people who rely on the support given from 'continuing care' provision."

"If anyone is concerned that they are being excluded from these essential services they should consult solicitors who can argue their case often evoking the Human Rights Act to ensure PCTs fulfil their requirements to provide a comprehensive and free care package where the individual has complex health needs."