Editorial Comment: Continuing care muddle

Age Concern rightly draws attention to the fact that thousands of older people still miss out on continuing care paid for by the NHS, in spite of government guidance issued last summer to solve the problem.

But while it is true that reported numbers receiving NHS continuing care fell overall during 2007, it is too soon to say that the guidance has failed. The figures appeared to climb back up following publication of the guidance.

The picture is muddled partly because there is no systematic collection of data across the country. Social services directors want strategic health authorities to take a more consistent approach, but SHAs evidently don’t see it as a priority. Until they do, tackling the postcode lottery will be harder still.

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Mark Ivory

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