Coronavirus Bill: temporary changes to NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments

The Bill includes provisions which relate to a wide range of areas, but they are all focussed on responding to the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this case, an easing of legislative and regulatory requirements where NHS CHC assessments are concerned to help with the flow of patients from a hospital setting.

The Bill relaxes the statutory obligations on CCGs (and NHS England) to assess patients for Continuing Healthcare eligibility, by suspending the operation of the relevant regulation (21(2)). They can assess, if they want to, but there is no longer any imperative to do so, thereby freeing up clinical staff for other frontline duties. These changes are set out at Part 1 section 13 of the Bill.

The Bill also suspends the requirement to operate in accordance with the National Framework when assessing.

NHS Trusts no longer have to consider CHC when considering discharge, and the relevant sections of statute relating to delayed discharges and CHC assessments are also disapplied.

There are requirements that, if CCGs do assess, they are to comply with, so this is not simply a free-for-all with no regulation at all, but what is proposed is a significant move away from the current dense, operational requirements to assess eligibility for anyone who may appear to be eligible.

The emphasis is clearly on trying to move people through the system to the right place at the right time, avoiding delay as a result of the need to assess, at a time when staff are focussing on other matters elsewhere in the healthcare system to try and address the pandemic.

Do get in touch with us if you would like to talk through any CHC matters that you are dealing with.

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