The Department of Health is failing to ensure that its national framework on continuing care is being implemented, adult directors have said.
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) lead on continuing care Jeff Jerome said it had been pressing the DH to introduce systematic monitoring of continuing care take-up as “the information has never been collected consistently”.
Accurate data is vital in ensuring that the creation of a national system of eligibility for continuing care (see box), ending local variations, is achieved.
However, Jerome said: “The DH hasn’t wanted to go down that road so far and thinks it’s the duty of the strategic health authorities. But we don’t think the SHAs see it as a priority.”
Jerome said councils had helped Adass fund the collection of some data on local continuing care decisions, but added that many PCTs are not giving the information.
Those excluded from receiving continuing care must meet their care costs themselves or have them funded by councils.
The scale of the problem was illustrated by government figures on take-up released by Age Concern last week, which showed massive shifts in levels of continuing care provided by different PCTs over time.
For instance, Derby PCT saw numbers increase by 1,600% between January to March and October to December 2007. Meanwhile recorded levels fell by over 80% in Mid-Essex, Sandwell and Wandsworth.
David Stout, director of the NHS Confederation’s PCT Network, said the figures reflected different methods of counting between areas, adding: “There’s a message there about ensuring data is properly collected.”
David Behan, director general for social care at the DH, said that there was now a set of national eligibility criteria and assessment methods for NHS continuing care.
He said: “We are also working hard with SHAs, councils and independent providers to ensure that the framework is implemented consistently in every part of the country.”
More informationAge Concern figures
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