To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to implement the recommendations in the health service Ombudsman's report 'NHS funding for long term care'; and if he will make a statement.
We have asked strategic health authorities to report back to their Directorate of Health and Social Care by 28 March with details of:
Whether continuing care criteria in use since 1996 were consistent with the Coughlan judgment;
If criteria were not consistent with the Coughlan judgment, when was this identified and what action was taken;
We have announced our intention to amend the regulations to be made under the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc) Bill to ensure that assessments for fully funded continuing national health service health care are carried out before discharge from hospital. This will ensure that nobody is issued with a section 2 notice (notice from the NHS to say that a patient requires social services) before an assessment for continuing NHS health care, informed by the single assessment process, has been carried out.We have written to the Commission for Health Improvement and asked that continuing care is included within the inspection of the national service framework for older people, due to begin in 2004.An estimate of the number of people who may have been wrongly assessed under criteria not consistent with the Coughlan judgment.