Now THIS is the TV expose of what is regularly reported as ”the scandal” of NHS Continuing Healthcare we have been waiting for.
We were pleased to see BBC’s Panorama delving into the care crisis last week. The programme showed that many local authorities are failing to meet even their statutory duties on social care. But while it did refer to NHS Continuing Healthcare funding, it didn’t go far enough in explaining who should receive it, and why so many people don’t get it even though they should.
Scandal of NHS CHC laid bare for all to see
Yesterday, however, BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show laid bare the whole scandal for all to see. They shone a light on, according to one desperate mother fighting for the funding for her severely disabled son, “the dark side of the NHS, the hidden side”.
We heard former rear-admiral Philip Mathias, whose two-year battle for NHS CHC featured on this blog, describing it as ”one of the biggest financial scandals in the history of the health service”.
And we inwardly cheered when Derbyshire said NHS CHC “feels like it’s been a neglected issue for a long time. But not any more.”
Families wrongly using their savings to pay for care they should be getting for free
The programme spoke to numerous families who had used their life savings to pay for care after their local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wrongly denied the funding. The numbers affected across the country ran into many thousands, Derbyshire said.
Dr Paul Williams MP, a GP and member of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, told the show: “As a doctor it makes me feel really upset that there are people that so clearly need the support of the NHS and who aren’t getting it”.
“NHS England asked CCGs to make £855 million of savings by 2020-21 in CHC and I fear the only way they are going to be able to do that is by raising the bar [for eligibility] even higher.”
Dr Williams revealed: “I have worked inside a CCG and I have seen this happen. There are good people working there, but they are struggling to balance the books and there is a certain amount of subjectivity about the criteria. In some areas three quarters of people who apply get refused, in other areas only 5 per cent get refused. So there is massive variation going on here.”
Meanwhile, a caller to the show said she had left her job as an NHS CHC nurse assessor after just three months. “Basically the job was removing money and services from patients. Ethically I couldn’t do it. I was on fast track too – for terminally ill patients.”
“People are ending up selling homes they don’t need to sell”
Conservative peer and former pensions minister Baroness Altmann told Derbyshire the scandal amounted to a “monumental failure of government policy” – she agreed that CCGs were rationing NHS CHC to control their costs.
“Meanwhile someone has to look after your loved one and people are ending up selling homes they don’t need to sell because they turn out in the end to have been eligible [for CHC] after fighting for a year or two.”
What further evidence is needed that the system is broken and is failing people at their most vulnerable – after they have paid into that system all their lives. As one desperate daughter put it: “Mum and Dad are of the generation where if they couldn’t afford it they didn’t have it. They saved hard for their retirement and stood on their own two feet all their lives. And now they need that help and it is just not there.”
Do you have your own story like those featured on the BBC?
If so, we want to hear it. Because we may well be able to help.
Just Caring Legal is a solicitors’ firm that has been specialising in NHS CHC funding for years. We have recovered hundreds of thousands of pounds challenging unfair decisions like those featured on the BBC today. Whilst we praise the NHS for all the fabulous work it does, we regularly hear about this ”scandal” from our clients and we are dedicated to fighting it. And we are glad that thanks to Victoria Derbyshire’s show, many of you do too.
So call us today on 0191 556 1078 or email us at [email protected] to arrange an initial discussion of your case. Our expertise will maximise your chances of securing the money you need and deserve.