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Continuing Care

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what her Department’s definition is of continuing care for the purpose of deciding whether patients can continue to receive care from the NHS; (113191)

(2) what advice her Department gives to (a) hospital trusts, (b) primary care trusts and (c) social services departments on the definition of continuing care.

Continuing care means care provided over an extended period of time to a person aged 18 or over to meet physical or mental health needs which have arisen as the result of disability, accident or illness.

The Department has run a consultation exercise to produce a new national framework for national health service continuing healthcare and NHS funded nursing care. The consultation ran from 19 June 2006 to 22 September 2006 and we are now considering the responses we received to the consultation. The new framework will promote fair and consistent access to NHS funding across England, irrespective of location, diagnosis or personal circumstances. Transitional guidance on continuing care was issued, to both the NHS and local authorities, on 16 October 2006.

Following the judgement in R (Grogan) v. Bexley NHS Care Trust, the Department published guidance to help strategic health authorities examine the criteria they use to determine continuing care eligibility, and the Department also published transitional guidance on continuing care, on16 October 2006, to cover the period between the SHA reorganisation and the implementation of the national framework. Both sets of guidance were made available on the Department’s website and are accessible to all the organisations mentioned in the question.