/ 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
Member

My thoughts are well known on this subject and I support real investment in the NHS and not on bombs and foreign “institutions ” which is countered by my critics as – not “where the beef ” but where,s the cash ? Yes the “Cash ” is flowing into the pockets of the IMF+WB but be that as it may I was looking at the Scottish governments answer to this as a hint of how England could advance on this subject. The budget as displayed on their website for all to see and scrolling down we come to the relevant part on healthcare and they seem to take the view of the integration of the NHS and local authority to provide total healthcare , if possible, FULLY supported at HOME by GP,s and nurses and allied staff, if not , they are not happy with the care home industry at present and will be looking to make changes to the funding and the means and actions used to provide essential care there. The SG estimates there are 745,000 adult carers and 44.000 young carers in Scotland who should be better supported on a more consistent basis . The Scottish government is supporting ( through many Acts of the Scottish Parliament ) unpaid carers . Bear in mind the Scottish public have supported the fact that they are being taxed additionally to keep up the standards of the NHS not so in England where its -“too much is invested in the (English) NHS ” sell off more to Big Medical USA. The amount Westminster invests in the NHS doesn’t come up to present days costs and dont quote me quote all the doctors/ nurses/ surgeons etc who say its intentionally being under-costed to eventually be made fully private – shareholders ( oh sorry ) “stakeholders” have to get their cut.

Member
Martin says:
20 April 2018

They don’t care about people with mental health problems in the Teeside area..Even if your doctor has diagnosed you with anxiety and depression the people who assess you in Thornaby just say that you have nothing wrong with you and you are just waisting tax payers money!

Member

Thats terrible Martin , the biggest killer of young men isn’t car crashes or violence but SUICIDE , I hope you are on anti-depressants and attending an out-clinic for help / day care in a hospital if not see your GP again and insist on it , depression I know about and have every right to comment on . This country only cares about the bottom $$$ not human suffering , especially males who are told- get over it/live with it or even worse “your a man arent you ” ? I could wring anybodies neck who came out with that line UN-caring Britain ! There are plenty of help organisations for males in the same boat.

Member
Joan Wilton says:
20 April 2018

Something must change, we have an ageing population and the fact that people are living longer with severe health problems has been known about for years. Successive governments have chosen to ignore this problem but it will not go away so we need to find a better way of funding care for the. Elderly.

Member
mary says:
11 May 2018

Totally agree

Member
Mark Kehoe says:
20 April 2018

My 83 yr old father is the full time 24/7 carer for my Mother with severe dementia. They get virtually no help and what they do get is paid for in full by my father. My mothers saving fell below the minimum threshold a full year ago but the wrangling between Ealing Social services and Ealing finance who put a care package in place to allow her to remain at home have remained unresolved over two years after discovering abnormalities with the charging of care. i.e. being over charged.

It has been a constant battle to get any basic things. GPs are simply not pro active and won’t get involved. Social Services have a here today gone tomorrow staffing issue. No-one ever takes responsibility and there is never a name, email, telephone contact to any correspondence. Some simply cannot grasp the degree of pressure it adds to the day to day looking after of Mum.

Every single professional has indicated that Mum fully meets the criteria of NHS continuing care but it is almost impossible to get anyone to help or steer one through the mire of utter bureaucracy to even get as far as a serious application. GPs won’t help and that I find really infuriating. Yet in adjoining Hillingdon borough a friend in almost identical circumstances, had much help instigated by the GP and Hillingdon social services. It worked like clockwork with the minimum of obstacles. Here in Ealing it is like a 30 ft thick wall of concrete exists between sufferers and carers and the help they need. It is simply clogged with ignorance and red tape and no joined up thinking.
When you do get help the clinical staff are very often superb but hard pressed and using massively outdated means especially for incontinence issues. The knowledge and skills are there but the physical means are still in the 1960s.

I find it really surprising yet rather poor that it is Labour Councils like Hounslow and Ealing which are far worse than Conservative ones like Hillingdon that cannot manage their obligations. Yet demographically almost identical boroughs.
They seem to be unable to get a grip on getting quality and consistency and blame everyone else for the lack of funds. But no-one actually seems to know how funding is covered per density of population. Yet they can find funds for vanity projects like Cycle routes costing far more than need be yet cannot find money to even paint a dilapidated care home.

I think Social Care needs to be removed from local authorities and the NHS reformed into the National Health and Social Care service and all care homes, trusts and services transferred along with funding .
And a high national standard created and adhered to. If it means raising National Insurance then is should be so or introducing a national Social care contribution ring fenced for care in later life.

Big changes need to happen but for the present, a huge kick up the rear is needed and fast.

Member
Anna says:
20 April 2018

I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and told as I was living in Nottingham a lot of the therapies available elsewhere were not available to me. The only option open was group therapy which was not suitable for my particular bpd. This left me with no treatment and as I could not afford to go private there wasn’t anything I could do. Needless to say my disorder worsened and I hate to say cost the NHS in my failed suicide attempts and self harming. I’ve never felt so let down. Just given a diagnosis and then shown the door.

Member

A failed suicide attempt is a CRY for HELP Anna , females are much more likely to do this than males . A BPD is distinct from suffering from depression you need help NOW ! I dont have a “perfect ” personality and dont always look at life in the way that many others do , I could be “labelled ” too . I am sorry you were told your BPD excludes you from group therapy as it is very helpful to be with others in the same situation as yourself , I dont accept that as an excuse, to deny you help, even if you are anti-social -so what ?? nobodies perfect there are childhood reasons why you are like that and group therapy will help bring them out . Once you understand yourself thats the start of recovery , the problem in this society is its concentration on the almighty $$ and not on human beings . MY thoughts are with you Anna and if you want to talk to me I am willing to help you in any way I can as communicating with a fellow human being makes all the difference.

Member

I agree with Duncan all round. His offer is worth taking IMHO.