Postcode lottery on free social care at the end of life, finds report
Continuing healthcare fast-track scheme open to local interpretation when it should not be, finds study for palliative care charities
People who should get free social care at the end of life are not always being referred for it, a report has found.
The NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) fast-track pathway designed to enable people whose conditions are entering a terminal phase to gain rapid access to fully-funded care, was open to local interpretation based on local resources when it should not be, found the study.
The report, by consultancy OPM, said there need said there needed to be better guidance around the CHC fast-track funding which was “less open to interpretation at a local level”. Professionals referring clients for the fast-track pathway and case co-ordinators also needed training about entitlement, how to access support and funding and how to challenge a local commissioner if they were not following the guidelines.
The study, commissioned by charities Macmillan Cancer Support, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Sue Ryder, was designed to examine how free social care at the end of life could work in practice.