Eligibility boost for long-term patients

Patients with long-term health needs will benefit from new plans to
make strategic health authorities establish a single set of
eligibility criteria to assess their need for continuing care by 30

Draft directions put out by the Department of Health for
consultation propose that SHAs establish eligibility criteria for
the provision of care by primary care trusts for patients with
physical or mental health needs which are the result of disability,
accident or illness.

The directions come in the wake of a report by health service
ombudsman Ann Abrahams earlier this year that upheld claims that
four older people from different health authorities were
incorrectly forced to pay for their long-term care in care homes
(news, page 6, 27 February 2003).

The DoH is also proposing that SHAs review cases within set time
frames where patients are unhappy about the procedure followed by a
PCT in reaching a decision about the patient’s need for continuing

In a second consultation paper, the DoH has confirmed plans to
ensure PCTs and other NHS trusts carry out continuing care
assessments before letting local authorities know patients are
ready for discharge from hospital.

Abrahams has also asked the Commission for Health Improvement to
include continuing care in the current consultation on the scope of
the review of the National Service Framework for Older

– Continuing Care (National Health Service Responsibilities)
Directions and Delayed Discharges (Continuing Care) Directions

at www.doh.gov.uk

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