What does it all mean? Common acronyms used in Continuing Healthcare

Posted on: January 10th, 2023 by Amy

The NHS Continuing Healthcare system can be confusing enough, without having to decode the endless acronyms that permeate correspondence and paperwork.

We’ve put together a beginner’s guide to the common abbreviations you might come across as you navigate the system. 

Read on for our guide to Continuing Healthcare acronyms…

CHC – Continuing Healthcare, or NHS Continuing Healthcare, also sometimes referred to as Continuing Care

NHS funding that some people are entitled to receive as a result of disability, accident or illness. It covers the full cost of the person’s care and residential accommodation.

NHS Continuing Healthcare is available to adults living in England who have particularly intense, complex or unpredictable care needs. Unlike local authority funding, it is not means tested.

Read more about Continuing Healthcare. 

CCG – Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS body responsible for commissioning healthcare services for its local area. Every Clinical Commissioning Group had a team who are responsible for overseeing the provision of Continuing Healthcare on their patch. Sometimes the administration of running Continuing Healthcare is outsourced to a Commissioning Support Unit (CSU, see below) or other third party. However, the Clinical Commissioning Group always had to make the final decision on eligibility for individuals, and was legally responsible for those decisions.

Please note: As of 1 July 2022 CCGs have been replaced by ICBs.

CQC – Care Quality Commission

The independent regulator of health and social care in England. The Care Quality Commission ensures the quality and safety of care in hospitals, dentists, ambulances, care homes, and the care given in people’s own homes. The Care Quality Commission is an executive, non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care. 

CSU – Commissioning Support Unit

Organisations that provide administration and services to several Integrated Care Boards (ICBs). Some ICBs outsource the administration of Continuing Healthcare to Commissioning Support Units – such as running assessments and correspondence with individuals or their representatives. Other ICBs do all of this in-house. Final decisions on eligibility must, by law, always be taken by the ICB, it cannot be outsourced. 

DST – Decision Support Tool

This is the paperwork used during a full assessment for Continuing Healthcare to organise the evidence relating to your needs into categories. It contains 12 areas of need or ‘care domains’. The individual’s level of need under each domain is recorded, and this informs the decision about eligibility for Continuing Healthcare.

The 12 care domains are:

  • Breathing
  • Nutrition
  • Continence
  • Skin
  • Mobility
  • Communication
  • Psychological & Emotional needs
  • Cognition
  • Behaviour
  • Drug therapies and medication
  • Altered states of consciousness
  • Other significant care needs

Click here for more information about the DST including downloading a blank copy, and to request your free copy of our Navigational Toolkit. 

FNC – Funded Nursing Care

This is an NHS contribution for residents of nursing homes towards the cost of healthcare delivered by a registered nurse. This is currently paid at flat rate of £209.19 per week (as of May 2022) to everyone except those who had previously received payments from the high band in the previous system (pre-2007, see RNCC).

ICB – Integrated Care Board

Integrated Care Boards were introduced in July 2022 and replace CCGs and their function. The role of the ICB is to allocate NHS budget and commission health and care services for the population in their area. They are responsible for planning to improve people’s health, develop higher quality care and receive better value for money. There are around 40 Integrated Care Boards in England.

Watch this video from The King’s Fund which explains how the NHS system changed in July 2022.

ICP – Integrated Care Partnership

An Integrated Care Partnership is a statutory committee and a collaborative network of service providers which brings the NHS together with other key partners within its geographical area. These partners include local authorities, healthcare professionals, and service users and carers. The ICP is responsible for producing an integrated care strategy on how to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the population in the Integrated Care System area.

ICS – Integrated Care System

Integrated Care Systems are made up of Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) and Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs). They take collective responsibility for planning services, improving health and reducing inequalities across geographical areas. The role of the ICS is to plan and deliver joined up health and care services, and to improve the health and wellbeing of people who live and work in their area. There are around 40 Integrated Care systems in England.

IR – Independent Review, sometimes referred to as Independent Review Panel (IRP)

The second stage of appeal if you are challenging a decision about eligibility for Continuing Healthcare. The first stage is Local Resolution.

Independent review is managed by NHS England, not your local Integrated Care Board (ICB). If accepted, it may lead to a formal review of the ICB’s decision by an independent panel of experienced health and social care professionals and a lay Chair.

Read more about the process of challenging a decision. 

MDT – Multidisciplinary Team

This is the team of health and social care professionals who are involved in a person’s care and brought together to assess and recommend their eligibility for Continuing Healthcare.

The minimum expected requirement for the team is two professionals – either one from health and one from social care or two health professionals from different disciplines. Ideally, the team who provide information for the completion of the Decision Support Tool (DST) should consist of all health and social care professionals who are knowledgeable about the person’s needs.

PCN – Primary Care Network

Primary Care Networks are groups of GP practices working closely together to provide integrated services to the local population. They enable the greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care for people close to home.

There are around 1,250 PCNs across England which each serve between 30,000 to 50,000 people. They should be small enough to provide the personal care valued by both people and GPs, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between GP practices and others in the local health and social care system.

PCNs are led by a clinical director who may be a GP, general practice nurse, clinical pharmacist or other clinical profession.

Watch this video from NHS England which explains how Primary Care Networks function.

PHSO – Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

An organisation set up by Parliament to provide an independent complaint handling service for complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments.

Complaints about Continuing Healthcare that have not been resolved locally, can be submitted to the ombudsman.

Read more about how to submit a complaint about Continuing Healthcare. 

RNCC – Registered Nursing Care Contributions

This is the system used to fund registered nursing services in nursing homes, before Funded Nursing Care (FNC) was introduced in 2007. Individuals who were eligible for the highest band of RNCC payments, now receive a higher rate of FNC. This is currently £215.04 per week.

How we can help

Beacon is the chosen supplier for NHS England’s Free Information and Advice Service for Continuing Healthcare. Using this service you can book a consultation of up 90 minutes of free advice (which can be spread across more than one consultation) with one of our specialist advisers. We can talk to you about CHC eligibility criteria, understanding the Decision Support Tool, guidance on funding policies in your area, and more. Click here to read about our Free Information and Advice service.

Navigating the Continuing Healthcare maze can feel difficult and often overwhelming. If you feel you need further support, or representation, our experienced team of specialist caseworkers can help. Click here to read about our representation and casework services.


If you’ve been confused by an acronym that we haven’t covered, please let us know so we can update the list and help more people get to grips with the jargon. Simply email your confusing acronym to amy.sumner@beaconchc.co.uk and put ‘Acronym blog’ in the subject line.

And if you have found this article helpful please share it with others who might find it helpful too!

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