FAQs > Free Information & Advice Service

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Can you tell me if my loved one is likely to be eligible for CHC?

Eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare is based upon the presence of a primary health need which is established through an in-depth assessment process in which a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) assesses the totality of the individual’s needs.

As part of your 90-minute time allocation, our Information & Advice Service advisers can discuss your situation with you, review any relevant documents and advise on the likelihood of eligibility, however without going through the assessment process nobody can know whether an individual will or will not be eligible.

After the completion of the 90-minute time allocation, some individuals choose to proceed with one of our paid services in order for further time to be dedicated to their case. Beacon’s Information & Advice Service, and paid services teams are separate and distinct, however in this instance your case files would be passed to the paid services team.

Can you provide an update on or help me to check the status of my application?

Beacon is an independent organisation which is not part of the NHS, therefore we are unable to provide updates on or check the status of current applications.

For updates on a specific case, you should contact the Integrated Care Board (ICB) where your GP is registered. You can find your local ICB by clicking here. Do make sure to use the contact details for the continuing healthcare team if they are available.

What information should I include when I submit a Talk to Us form?

When you submit a Talk to Us form you should try to include as much information as possible about your situation. This could include an overview of your situation and what stage you are at in the process; your geographical location; details of any current care arrangements; information on the individual’s condition or symptoms; and any significant dates or deadlines. The more information you provide us with, the more quickly and accurately we can respond to your request.

How does the Free Information & Advice Service work?

Our Free Information & Advice Service consists of two tiers.

  • Our Tier 1 advisers form the front line of our I&A Service and will be the first people you come into contact with. Tier 1 advisers can provide unlimited straight forward and useful advice about CHC including how to request and prepare for an assessment; how to initiate a review of an eligibility decision, and more. This advice can be provided via phone or email.
  • For those who require more in-depth or detailed advice, our Tier 2 service will provide you with up to 90 minutes of free guidance from a trained adviser. These 90 minutes do not have to be taken in a single consultation and may be used across a number of advice sessions. Tier 2 consultations are usually provided via phone, however we can arrange video calls using Microsoft Teams.

Outside of exceptional circumstances, you must first have a telephone call with a Tier 1 advisor before any referral is made to Tier 2.

What are my options if I have used all of my free 90 minutes with a Tier 2 adviser?

Our Free Information & Advice Service entitles individuals to 90 minutes of free Tier 2 advice, per patient. If your query relates to two or more patients, you will be entitled to 90 minutes of advice per patient.

Activities included within these 90 minutes may be telephone / video consultations; written advice (via email or post); and reviewing documents as part of either of the above. Activities not included within these 90 minutes may be advice provided by Tier 1 advisers; confirmation emails or the sending of our Navigational Toolkit; time spent preparing for the consultation; any training or research required prior to a consultation.

Please note: We will only arrange a 90-minute consultation if your question requires more time and depth than can be provided through the Tier 1 advice line. Tier 1 advisers have the same knowledge as Tier 2 advisers and will continue to answer shorter questions to prevent the 90 minutes being used up unnecessarily. If you use all of the 90-minute allocation, you will still have unlimited access to the advice line.

Once you have received all 90 minutes of advice from a Tier 2 adviser, you can still contact us for advice from a Tier 1 adviser, and utilise the resources on our website. If you would like more specialist support, you can request further information from our paid casework and advocacy services by contacting us on 0345 548 0300 and selecting option 2. Our paid services team is completely separate to our Free Information & Advice team, and we will never encourage your referral unasked. If you wish to speak to our paid services team, you should specifically request a referral.

Can I pay you for more time?

If you have used all of your 90 minutes you may wish to consider our paid advocacy services.

Can you advise as to whether I should employ paid representation / take on an advocate?

NHS Continuing Healthcare applications can be challenging and time-consuming, but it is possible to work through the process independently. With the right information and guidance it is possible to gain a sufficient understanding to navigate the process on your own.

Every individual’s situation is different, and the choice to employ paid representation is at the discretion of the individual. Therefore Beacon is not able to advise as to whether you should take on paid advocacy services. However, due to the highly specialised nature of NHS Continuing Healthcare it is important that if you do decide to go ahead with paid representation, you find an organisation with the right expertise and considerable experience in the field. Pages 17-18 of the Appeals document in our Navigational Toolkit has a useful guide to identifying a suitable advocate.

Why do you ask for my contact details and documentation and what do you use them for?

When you contact us, we will ask you for information relating to yourself and, if applicable, the individual you are contacting us regarding. Information such as contact details are required so that we are able to keep a log of your call / email in order to contact you again should you require any further assistance. We will never contact you unprompted. We may also take additional information for statistical and monitoring purposes.  We will never share you information with a third party without your prior written consent and we do not sell to third parties. You can find more information in our Privacy Policy. In some instances, we might suggest that you provide us with copies of documentation such as assessments or appeal documents. We will usually ask for this to be sent prior to a Tier 2 consultation. This is to enable the adviser to review your case more thoroughly and provide more specific and effective advice, tailored to you. 

I have already had a Tier 2 Consultation. Can I choose my adviser or speak to the same adviser the next time I call?

We endeavour to keep you with the same Tier 2 adviser for the duration of your contact with us, but should you need to book an urgent consultation and the previous adviser is unavailable at the required time, we will book you with an alternative adviser. After each consultation, your adviser will make notes of the conversation and these notes will be available for the next consultation to ensure that each adviser fully understands your situation and the advice that you need. All of our advisers are experts in NHS Continuing Healthcare and undergo a rigorous programme of training.

We do not maintain continuity with Tier 1 advisers, as we rotate responsibility for incoming calls and particular team members may not always be available. Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 keep detailed notes so colleagues can refer back and give comprehensive advice.

My son is aged 15 and we are struggling with his continuing care, can you help?

Unfortunately, as continuing care is different for adults and children, we can advise on the transition between Continuing Care (CC) and NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC), however we are unable to advise on Continuing Care for those aged under 18. The best thing to do is to contact a condition-specific support group who may be able to provide some advice. Organisations who may be able to help include:

Spinal Injuries Association – 0845 678 6633
Marie Curie – 0800 716 146
Carers UK – 0808 808 7777

Contact (for families with a disabled child, including those without a specific diagnosis) – 0808 808 3555. 

I am considering an appeal, when is the best time to contact you?

You have 6 months from the date of your decision letter to start the first stage of the appeal process (Local Resolution).

If you are in possession of your completed Decision Support Tool (DST) or Checklist you should contact us as soon as possible to schedule a Tier 2 consultation, which includes 90 minutes of free advice. During this consultation your adviser will be able to go through the DST or Checklist with you, discuss possible grounds for appeal, and advise as to what to include in the appeal letter.

If you are not in possession of your completed Decision Support Tool (DST) or Checklist you should try to obtain this before contacting us, in order to maximise the use of the free 90 minutes. In order to obtain your completed DST or Checklist you should contact the ICB who undertook the assessment.

Will my adviser be able to write the appeal form, or fill in other CHC paperwork for me?

Your adviser will be able to provide advice on drafting an appeal letter, but they will not be able to draft it on your behalf. If you would like the adviser to review a draft you have written, they will be able to provide feedback and suggestions. 

How are you able to advise on my specific case?

Our advisers can assist you with many aspects of your case, including providing advice on your assessment; reviews of eligibility decisions; care planning processes including PHBs as well as other associated guidance and restitution; requests for retrospective funding; joint funding; FNC; responsible commissioner guidance; the review of case-specific documentation; and the recommendation of next steps.

You should ensure you have all of your case documentation to hand in order to best utilise your allotted time.