/ Health

NHS funding is a postcode lottery – have you been affected?

Patients around the UK are facing a postcode lottery when it comes to continuing care on the NHS, our health investigators uncovered today. Have you been affected by the NHS postcode lottery like Gill and Carol?

Gill Jarvis was shocked to find herself footing a £96k per year care home bill at short notice. Her mum Jean – who has severe dementia – had lived in her care home for nine years and the NHS had been paying her care bills but all that suddenly stopped with little explanation when Jean’s local health board (Clinical Commissioning Group) reviewed her needs.

In another part of the country, Carol Rumens found herself in a similar situation when her husband Geoffrey’s continuing healthcare funding was stopped after eight years. Geoffrey has long-standing mental health problems and is physically very disabled and unable to care for himself.

Both Gill and Carol are clear that the person they love’s health has deteriorated, making the withdrawal of this funding even more hard to understand, and they’re not alone in feeling that they are victims of a continuing healthcare postcode lottery.

Care costs

The NHS funds people who have the highest healthcare needs. Those assessed and deemed eligible have their full healthcare costs funded by the NHS – whether they live in their own home or in a care home, and whatever their financial situation. At a possible £1,000 plus a week, it’s a life-changing sum of money.

But despite a national framework for assessments, vulnerable people with complex conditions can be up to 25 times more likely to get their care costs covered depending on where they live, according to NHS continuing healthcare funding data.

South Reading, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area with the lowest level of people funded, paid care costs for 8.78 patients per 50K of the population, while Salford funded 220.38 people per 50K. Although different areas have different populations, these differences can’t be easily explained by demographic differences.

The inconsistencies affect people living in the same region too. In Stockport (31.76 per 50K), patients are almost seven times less likely to get the funding than those 10 miles away in Salford.

Emotional impact

And it’s not just the funding that hits hard. Carol – herself an ex-nurse and health visitor – describes the emotional impact of fighting her husband’s case for funding. She said:

“This has nearly broken me. I go to meetings but it’s a foregone conclusion. This is not justice. CHC is meant to be based on need but his need has got worse. They ask my opinion but it’s not of interest to them even though I’m the one who knows him, and what triggers his mental health, best.”

A new national framework has now been published with implementation due on 1 October 2018. It will not change eligibility criteria, but aims to provide greater clarity, including for staff. But will it make the changes that are needed?

Brenda Pardoe says:
24 April 2018

I though the NHS was for all! But now it seems local NHS not country wide Teresa May. We all paid into the health service so should be treated the same. My sympathies to all affected


How can this be considered to be a NATIONAL Health Service – what is the pint of having local MPs if they allow this sort of unfair treatment across the country. What’s the point of having a pension and other savings if we dare not spend the money just in case one or both of us need long term care.
Our biggest concern is that politicians KNOW all about this and just think that it is Ok to hide behind such silly remarks as “we’re spending more than ever before on the NHS”.


N Bailey -because the long term object of the exercise is to obtain a US style Medical Service which is –independent hospitals financed by private holding companies and off shore entities in the Finance business . These are linked to Private Insurance companies and with Big Pharmacy USA , in other words total privatisation . Spending “more than ever ” is just government propaganda , ask the doctors /nurses and surgeons who go on marches in London and elsewhere that they consistently give less than the sustainable amount to keep a first class heath service in business . Its Death by slow strangulation so that one day you will wake up and find you need two health insurances to finance medical care and you need to be rich to afford the drugs just like the USA.

J Baker says:
26 April 2018

I doubt any one of us would object to the NHS receiving additional funding so it does make you wonder why successive governments give them less than is required. The vast majority of us would probably be happy to pay a little extra each month for good health care. Hell steal a little extra from road tax – ’cause that doesn’t get used on the roads does it!

Janet marshall says:
5 May 2018

The NHS is seeing numbers not the person underneath. It is a blot on our country that provision for any type of care is a lottery.Money is needed, but a more proficient way of managing. There have been too many chiefs and not enough Indians. more pressure leads to mistakes and omissions in care.I was a nurse for forty years and it is sad that change has been so devastating.


It has just been announced by the Scottish government that an immediate pay increase of 3 % will be paid to medical staff in NHS (Scotland), this will be an interim payment. They are currently in talks on a 3-year deal which will quote not only match but exceed the deal agreed in NHS (England), as you know Scottish taxpayers pay extra into the devolved NHS (Scotland ) see http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/16280539.NHS_staff_to_get_3__pay_rise__Nicola_Sturgeon_reveals/ why is it all we get in England is – it costs too much -money wasted etc 3 days ago I got my second cataract lens replacement surgery and I am posting this sans glasses the operation carried out by the consultant Professor head of two separate hospitals departments in ophthalmology not only that but as the appointment was early morning I was given a choice of quality sandwiches and a real, cup of tea and the same after the op. I must say that the Professor used a different technique from the first operation and he told me everything he was doing as it happened, I shook his hand at the end and kissed a nurse as going from blind to eyesight of a much younger person was amazing. This would NEVER happen in the USA which England is trying to copy, have any of you seen the charges that a PROFESSOR of ophthalmology costs in the USA ?, I have,gut wrenching! Isn’t it time to stop thinking of me-me-me and start thinking of a future American type NHS -England if you don’t give more in taxes . have you seen the ENGLISH waiting lists for this operation -hitting the headlines of people going blind before any action is taken and that was publicised only a short while ago.


I’m glad your operation went well, Duncan!

You’re very right, medical costs in the USA can be excruciatingly expensive.


Thanks for that Alex eye still a bit sore but well worth the operation , I see HM the Queen has had the same type of op. Now both eyes are done its a world of a difference .