/ 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?

Comments
Guest
Arthur Hall says:
21 April 2018

If there is to be any distinction with NHS services it should not be by postcode, but by the patient’s contributions to the scheme. How can we have reached a situation where UK citizens who, like their parents, have contributed all their working lives, are in need of care or medical services. Is it any wonder that the NHS staggers from one crisis to the next, or that our elderly are often cared for at the expense of the homes they have worked for all their lives?

[Sorry, your comment has been edited to align with our community guidelines. We do not allow comments which others may find offensive. https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, mods.]

Guest
Derek farman says:
21 April 2018

The post code lottery is actually a crime. We need a government who listens to our concerns and does something about it.
Where is that government ?

Guest

Derek-Non existent when it comes to the care of its own citizens delegating its responsibilities into the hands of hard-nosed business people where profit comes first and the poor are left to die. We don’t have a government , we have a City run Big Business conglomerate operating for the benefit of foreign countries and doing its best to introduce every USA policy into this country for profit .

Guest

At least Donald is honest and admitted the US government is run as a business , the days of “the Mother of Parliaments ” has been fully corrupted by political dogma and off shore entities . The truth is always unacceptable to those not willing to accept it.

Guest

I love that sentence “The truth is always unacceptable to those not willing to accept it“. The trouble with Trump is that he struggles with the truth most of the time and we have difficulty recognising it when he occasionally comes up with it.

Incidentally, why do we say “Donald” but not “Vladimir” when referring to the respective big beasts? My mind turns to water fowl when I hear the word Donald, and if it quacks, waddles and continuously preens itself I guess I am right.

Guest

Because Putin is not roaming round the world invading countries he doesn’t like bombing them into obliteration taking over their resources and stationing missile bases there and refusing to leave a sovereign country it has not been invited to enter therebye breaking international law not just once but continually and unceasingly . Who has the biggest number of prisoners in jail ?? the USA – who castigates countries it wants regime change in for human rights violations while gunning down black people on such a scale as to cause riots and civil unrest -the USA , open your eyes look outside at reality.

Guest

Putins sends his undercover agents instead armed with toxic Novichok Duncan.

Guest

HMG refused to allow any samples being given to Putin to check it out I would not rely on the government outpourings , agents ? plenty of British ones in Moscow as well as SAS in Syria helping terrorists Beryl.

Guest

Do you think British agents in Moscow and Syria are also capable of gassing Syrian women and children?

Your allegiance is at times very questionable Duncan, and what action would you take if you were governed by a cruel dictator who is capable of gassing his own citizens. Would that also make you a terrorist if a military uprising was the only solution to establish a fairer and a more democratic constitution?

Guest

The “cruelty” is coming from the USA with the help of Britain in helping to sustain iSIS and protecting them , look at the cruelty to minority groups in the USA – how about invading the USA illegally to “correct ” the situation ? The ordinary Syrian citizens fully support their government – gassing – what gassing ??? ZERO gas cases in Syrian hospitals locals only know iSIS and other terrorists grabbed them -took them to a hospital and covered them with water the boy in the film by the West has appeared with his parents on international TV saying -NO gas and his parents who also said -NO gas . A big cover up of the truth by the West to justify missile attacks on a sovereign country . USA/Britain attacking Middle East nations at the behest of one Middle -East country so that it can expand its territory ILLEGALLY into surrounding countries and run a pipeline through it for its own profit .

Guest
Phil says:
22 April 2018

Wildly off topic but t sounds like you’ve been taken in by the Putin propaganda machine. Let’s wait until OPCW have done their investigation, not question why permission was delayed and hope they aren’t harassed too much by Syria’s secret police.

The pipeline through Syria would’ve earned the country billions in transit fees but Assad turned it down because it would disadvantage Russia. Obvious who’s calling the shots there.

Guest

Speak to Rodger Waters – re- “the White Helmets ” about the staged “Gas/chemical Attack ” local doctor in hospital NO body had chemical or gas injuries . All the locals said – set up and staged nobody has chemical symptoms . Pipeline through Syria ? wanted by Israel tell me Phil can I run an oil pipeline through your private property and if you refuse missile attack you ? What legal right has the UK/ USA/ France to bomb and invade a sovereign country ? Oh ! I forgot its called -EXCEPTIONALISM .

Guest
Phil says:
22 April 2018

[Sorry, your comment has been removed for being off-topic, please remember to align with our community guidelines https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, mods.]

Guest

This convo is about the NHS. If we want a Convo on the relative merits of Putin and Trump we should perhaps ask Patrick for one. Personally I get a bit tired of Trump/USA and Putin/Russia being introduced into any Convo on the slightest pretext. Sorry 🙂

Guest

I never started it malcolm but I will stop now and hope others do too.

Guest

Correct and to the point! What on earth have we come to when where you live determines whether you are treated like a human being? (or NOT!) we should all be treated universally without exception with humanity, respect and dignity. Obviously at present this is quite patently not the case – you may well ask where the Government is – at the beck and call of big business methinks! and not the democratic majority who clamour for the right to be treated with respect and fairness!

Guest
Brid oDonnell says:
22 April 2018

The people of West Cumbria know only to we’ll about the cuts to their services West Cumbria is mostly rural and lives were put at risk

Guest

I cannot recall a time when the NHS didn’t need more money, and I was born before the NHS. There is no doubt that clinical advances have prolonged the lives of most of the population – which is a tribute to its success – but its resources have not grown proportionately. I think the areas sadly lacking are continuing care and domiciliary care which are people-intensive needs rather than administered through drug prescriptions or physical procedures or other interventions. During the Cold War we spent 4% of our GDP on defence and other military action; now it is barely 2%. How and where have we managed to fritter away the other 2% with so little to show for it? Perhaps much has gone to the NHS and it hasn’t been spent wisely. Inefficiency and managerial inadequacy remain major challenges. Is it all too big? Perhaps the economies of scale are eroded by complexity and friction in the mechanism that consume more energy but reduce the output.

Guest
Alan Crozier says:
22 April 2018

My wife has dementia and incontinence. I have been looking after her at home for about 3 years since the dementia began. I asked for a doctor to visit her in October 2017, in writing, but no visit was ever made – my request was totally ignored. (We also asked for help in gaining access to the bath, but are still waiting after 3½ years!) When she had a fall a few days later she was taken by ambulance (after a 7 hour wait) to hospital, although apparently uninjured. For a month there were discussions over her being discharged which then then cancelled, as she had ‘deteriorated’ – she lost a lot of weight, needed oxygen and other treatment which had not been needed at home. I suggest poor care was the cause. Wishing to get her out of the hospital; arrangements were made for a ‘fast track’ move to a care home. No one would discuss costs, except to say there would be no charge initially as it was funded under continuing health care under end of life rules. Now I am told that full care cannot be continued – as she is “better” which I interpret as recovered from poor treatment in hospital, but not “better” than she was at home. I am disabled and in receipt of DLA and Industrial Injuries Benefit (that is another story of ‘management incompetence) and so looking after her at home is really not possible. I am now having to declare all sorts of financial details, but have not been offered an opportunity to appeal the decision. She gave many years as a NHS worker. Is this fair?

Guest

No it isnt fair Alan – why were you not offered help with disabled equipment for your wife ? Lifting devices -long handles etc , I hope you haven’t signed your home away ? if you continue to live in it the Social Work cant force you to sell it , you will notice with any pension increase a percentage is reduced from your DLA making the pension of less value and you are taxed at a time of life when you need every penny . Its you and I who are paying the IMF/WB not £millionaires or £billionaires who salt their money off shore who have City accountants and lawyers to make sure they pay peanuts in taxes in relation to the amount of money they have . All you hear is ” the money in the NHS is not being spent wisely ” giving the cue to CUT IT -why dont they say- CUT the money given to the IMF and £Trillions given to the USA to buy bombs etc . Donald is getting applauded in the USA ( 51 % approval ) due to his America First policy helping Joe Public USA but here its “Open Britain ” to rip off by all and sundry and its the poor-sick-old who are suffering most NOT the rich.

Guest

Too much has probably gone towards interest on the £1.78 trillion UK National Debt – approximately 87.7% of GDP, now renamed the PSNCR (Public Sector Net Cash Requirement).