Decision tool vital for fairer system

Local government leaders say guidance on implementing the government’s NHS continuing care framework will be key to ensuring people are not wrongly excluded from fully funded care.

The Association of Directors of Social Services and the Local Government Association welcomed the framework, published last week (Continuing care criteria raise hopes that thousands will receive funding, 22 June), but said the decision support tool, designed to help practitioners determine eligibility for continuing care, would be crucial for the policy’s success.

ADSS disabilities committee co-chair Jeff Jerome said: “The NHS has been able to interpret the criteria to suit their financial needs. We would be looking for a tool that takes a lot of the discretion away.”

A draft decision support tool was published alongside the new framework. It is designed to identify levels of need that qualify as a “primary health need” – the test for determining continuing care eligibility.

Tim Hind, a social care consultant for the LGA, said a reference group of council officials, set up by the two associations, had successfully influenced the framework to ensure it reflected local government opinion.

He added: “The tool’s going to be the key bit. The reference group will be expecting to work with DH and other colleagues to influence that.”

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