The government has opened the door to direct payments for NHS
services, in its response to a health select committee report on
It agreed with the committee’s call for greater flexibility for
direct payment users whose care becomes the responsibility of the
NHS through the continuing care system.
People deemed to have a primary health need currently have their
care, board and lodging needs met by the NHS under continuing care,
but are not eligible for direct payments.
In its response, the Department of Health says: “[We] will consider
ways of increasing flexibility for individuals whose needs move
from being the responsibility of social services to the
responsibility of the NHS, to enable greater consistency.”
Direct payments for health care have been resisted by some because
they insist NHS services should remain free at the point of