Capped charges mooted for free nursing care

    Free nursing care may be capped at £110 per week, according
    to guidance issued for consultation this week.

    The Department of Health guidance for England proposes three
    bands of weekly payment – £35 (low), £70 (medium) and
    £110 (high). Nurse co-ordinators will head teams of local
    nurses drawn from health authorities or primary care trusts, and
    will carry out assessments to determine the level of care, the
    guidance adds.

    The Registered Nursing Homes Association has criticised the
    payment levels and assessment method. “Older people have been
    short-changed over this nursing care element,” said RNHA chief
    executive Frank Ursell. “The government has not learned the lessons
    of community care. They’re going to make the assessor the
    budget-holder.”

    Currently, the care provided by registered nurses in nursing
    homes is charged for on a means-tested basis by social services
    departments. But nursing care provided in residential care homes is
    usually provided by a registered nurse through the NHS community
    nursing service and is already free.

    There will be a four-week consultation period for the guidance
    ending on 13 August.

    DoH draft guidance from www.doh.gov.uk/jointunit/freenursingcare

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