Huge variations in continuing care uptake despite national eligibility

The introduction of a national system of eligibility for continuing care appears not to have ended the postcode lottery in provision, according to latest government figures.

From July to September 2008, the number of people receiving continuing care per 50,000 population ranged from 8.9 in South East Essex Primary Care Trust to 105.8 in Ashton, Leigh and Wigan PCT. The average was 40 per 50,000 population.

This is despite the introduction of a national framework for continuing care in October 2007, which was designed to end local and regional variations in eligibility.

Revealed by Phil Hope

The figures, which were revealed in a parliamentary answer by care services minister Phil Hope, showed that from April to June 2008, the numbers who received continuing care ranged from 5.8 per 50,000 in South East Essex to 92.3 on the Isle of Wight.

Under continuing care, people whose primary need for long-term care derives from a health condition have their full costs met by PCTs, including care home hotel costs and personal care.

The latest figures did show an increase in the overall number of people receiving continuing care, from 37,920 in the first quarter of 2008-9 to 40,449 in the second quarter.

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