The government has ordered strategic health authorities to review their eligibility criteria for continuing care to ensure it is in line with a recent court judgement.
The DH is currently drawing up a national framework for continuing care to replace the current system of locally determined eligibility criteria. Care services minister Liam
Byrne has said the goverment will consult on this next month.The guidance applies until this has been created.
The government move comes in new guidance issued last week about the judgement’s implications. The judge involved criticised the current national Department of Health guidance on determining eligibility as “far from being as clear as it might have been.”
The new guidance also calls on strategic health authorities, primary care trusts and local authorities to consider whether there are service users who should be re-assessed as a consequence of the judgement.
The Association of Directors of Social Services wants its members to ensure their procedures and criteria are in line with the judgement.
The case prompting the changes was brought by Maureen Grogan, who claimed she was wrongly denied fully funded continuing care by Bexley Care Trust, using criteria laid down by the South East Strategic Health Authority.
Instead she was given the top band of registered nursing care contribution, forcing her to contribute to her own care.
The judge said that council had used “fatally flawed” criteria in not following the landmark 1999 Coughlin judgment, which stated that anyone with a “primary health need” should be eligible for continuing care. He called on Bexley to reassess Grogan using this judgement.
The judge said that DH guidance on continuing care and the top band of the RNCC caused confusion between the two systems.