Funding for Care – Poor awareness of potential available help from the NHS

In a week in which the question of funding for the NHS and Social care again appears prominently in the media, a survey highlights how thousands of vulnerable elderly people may be missing out on state funding for their care because they and their families have no idea it exists.

Almost nine in ten people (87%) in a poll of more than 1,000 aged 45-60 — the group most likely to be taking care funding decisions for their parents — did not know about NHS continuing healthcare. This covers the care fees of those with complex medical needs. Crucially, it is available regardless of wealth.

The findings will raise fears that not enough is being done to promote the scheme. In some cases, people who may be eligible for continuing healthcare end up selling their home to pay for care.

Those who miss out on the funding must cover their own costs until their assets, including property, are worth no more than £23,250.

The survey, which was commissioned by a firm of Solicitors who specialise in legal services in relation to care and nursing home funding, said it was a “national disgrace” that so few people were aware of the funding. “There are many, many people who will have unnecessarily spent the entirety of their savings, or even had to sell their house, to cover costs they are wrongly being asked to pay.

“Certainly, the NHS could be doing more to promote the availability of the funding. It’s a shameful dereliction of its founding principles that its modus operandi appears to be to keep knowledge of the funding as limited as possible.”

Even people who are aware of it can find securing the funding a Herculean task. Applicants must undergo regular assessments, with families often pitted against healthcare professionals over whether an individual should receive it.

You do not need a lawyer to help you claim, but those who want to argue their case themselves need to understand the rules set out in a 140-page document. (Find it at

The chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said funding assessments had to take account of “limited budgets”. She acknowledged that guidelines for funding assessments were “too complex” and is working on a “simplified and consistent framework”, which will be operational from October.

Last week the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, confirmed that a new care funding system will cap the amount an individual must pay. A government paper is expected to be published before the summer.

Julian Kaye Dip PFS

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