‘A welcome spotlight on issues, but CCG accountability is vital’. Our response to Ombudsman’s report on Continuing Healthcare

Posted on: November 4th, 2020 by Amy

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) today released a report Continuing Healthcare: Getting it right first time based on their findings from Continuing Healthcare1 (CHC) cases brought to them and resolved in the last three years.

In response to the report, Dan Harbour, Managing Director of Beacon CHC, said:

“Over the past few years, we’ve heard from more and more families with loved ones whose Continuing Healthcare package is not sufficiently funded nor properly planned to meet their care needs. We welcome this report from the PHSO, which we hope will begin to turn the tide on such practices that cause huge strain on the wellbeing and finances of so many.

“Every week we receive calls from people being asked, unlawfully, to provide top-up funding for a loved one’s care, when they are eligible for Continuing Healthcare. We’ve been challenging this practice with CCGs and care homes for over a decade and are pleased that the ombudsman has joined us in condemning it at a national level.

“We also recognise the issues around insufficient care planning and provision, raised in the PHSO report. Some CCGs act in a way that’s about as far from person-centred care commissioning as it’s possible to get – with a complete disconnect between the budget provided and the actual care needs. When a care package fails to meet an individual’s needs, family members are left to pick up the pieces. Loved ones have to fill in the gaps in care themselves, or top up the budget, which can be hugely stressful and exhausting.

“We are pleased to see the PHSO’s report pick up on problems associated with retrospective assessments of Previously Unassessed Periods of Care (PUPOC) – through which care funding can be backdated. We have longstanding concerns about the quality of some PUPOC assessments and procedures after thousands were outsourced and sub-contracted to private companies. There have been gaping inconsistencies in quality and procedures, so we welcome the PHSO’s recommendation for national guidance on this issue.

“We thank the PHSO for bringing all these important issues into the light and we stand ready to play our part in improving competency across the CHC system, through training. However, we feel the PHSO’s focus on more guidance and training misses the mark. The current rules and policies are extensive and, in our opinion, clear. This doesn’t stop some CCGs from routinely ignoring them. We believe that the greatest need is for genuine accountability and meaningful consequences for this behaviour. Without that, we fear things are unlikely to improve.”

How we can help

At Beacon, our highly experienced advisors and caseworkers are here to help or advise you on any aspect of your NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment, appeal or complaint.

If you intend to lodge a formal complaint about your CHC experiences, call us for 90 minutes of free advice so you know what to expect and can avoid any pitfalls. Alternatively, you can pay for us to handle the complaint process on your behalf.

Read more about our range of services, from our free advice service to paid case management.

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