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Long-Term Care

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) with reference to the NHS Ombudsman's report `NHS funding for long term care', if he will ensure that new guidance on HSC 2001/15 contains model eligibility criteria, with appropriate use of case studies and examples so that they may be understood by patients as well as professionals, which are consistent with (a) R v North and East Devon Health Authority ex parte of Coughlan of 1999 and the ruling that where a person's primary need is owing to health needs or disabilities, their care is a continuing NHS responsibility, and (b) the consequence of the Appeal Court's decision on the circumstances in which it is unlawful to transfer responsibility for a patient's general nursing care to the local authority; [103148](2) if he will make a statement on the comments of the NHS Ombudsman relating to the clarity of HSC 2001/ 15 in the report 'NHS funding for long term care' with particular reference to the Ombudsman's observation that HSC 2001/015 is weaker than guidance previously declared to be unlawful by the Court of Appeal in R v North and East Devon Health Authority ex parte Coughlan of 1999; [103149](3) what steps he is taking to address the comments in the Health Service Ombudsman's report 'NHS funding for long term care' on the clarity of HSC 2001/ 015. [103152]

The Government will consider the recommendation to review national guidance on continuing care carefully. Once this process is complete, we will consider if any further action is necessary.From 1 April 2003 and the commencement of Section 49 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001, local authorities will no longer be able to provide nursing care directly.The Court of Appeal in Coughlan said previous guidance issued by the Department of Health was lawful. The Department of Health is satisfied that the guidance issued in 1999 and 2001was compatible with the Court of Appeal judgement in R v North and East Devon Health Authority ex parte Coughlan of 1999.