NHS continuing care is an NHS funding package designed to provide free healthcare for all those who are eligible.
An inquiry into NHS continuing care, by Parkinson’s UK and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Parkinson’s, found that due to a lengthy process people with Parkinson’s are dying whilst waiting for their health board to make a decision on whether they are eligible.
They also found that 59% of NHS continuing care assessments do not involve a professional with specialist expertise or knowledge in the applicant’s condition, leading to inaccurate and incorrect decisions on funding. Additionally, 24% of people with Parkinson’s were continually reassessed, despite living with a progressive condition.
Health and social care professionals involved in the inquiry said that the system is so complex they have difficulty following the correct process.
Parkinson’s UK wants NHS England to be accountable for NHS continuing care and is calling on the government to urgently redevelop the system.
Parkinson’s UK Chief Executive Steve Ford said: “People in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s are being put through hell by trying to access financial support they need, in a system so complex even health professionals struggle to understand it.
“The government must act now to overhaul this pitiful system, and bring in a simplified NHS continuing care process which supports those who need it most.”
Alzheimer’s Society are also supporting the call for an overhaul of the system. A spokesperson said: “People with dementia can often require round the clock care, putting huge strain on families and individuals both emotionally and financially. The financial support provided by NHS continuing healthcare is a lifeline for people with dementia and their carers.
“The fact that people are facing endless delays while funding decisions are made or having support withdrawn as their symptoms worsen, leaving them facing spiralling costs for their care, is completely unacceptable. A system where people are left abandoned when they are at their most vulnerable is nonsensical and not fit for purpose.”