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
    November.

    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
    care.

    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
    People.

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

    at www.doh.gov.uk

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