NHS care for elderly is a 'postcode lottery'

An alarming postcode lottery has been uncovered by ITV News in the levels of NHS care available to people who fall ill in their old age.

ITV News has examined Dept of Health data which shows how many people get NHS Continuing Care within each Primary Care Trust (or NHS Trust).

And the results are staggering: for example, if you live somewhere like Barking and Dagenham, you’re almost ten times more likely to receive the funding than if you live somewhere like West Berkshire.

The figures revealed that 158.4 people out of 50,000 received Continuing Care in the best performing areas while only 16.4 people received it in the worst.

The government says their guidelines should ensure the provision of care is fair for all.

We expect Trusts to provide 'NHS Continuing Healthcare' to everyone who is entitled to it, following the appropriate assessment process.

To help make sure there's a consistent approach, the Department introduced national guidance and since it was introduced, around 20,000 more people are getting continuing care and variation has reduced.

There is still more to be done and we are working to spread good practice and get all Trusts up to the standard of the best.

– Department of Health

NHS Continuing Care and local authority care explained:

  • To get NHS Continuing Care you must be sick.
  • Your needs will be assessed using a Decision Support Tool, which measures things like your mobility, continence and breathing.
  • If you score highly enough, you get funding, without any means testing of your funds.
  • If you fail to pass the test, then you can go on to ask your local authority for care.
  • This would include help with washing, dressing etc, not medical needs.
  • You will be means tested for this, which is where the issue of selling homes to pay for care tends to come in.

More information

A full table of the number of people receiving NHS Continuing Care per Primary Care Trust can be found here.

If you want to know whether or not you're entitled to NHS Continuing Care, or are worried about any of the issues raised in our exclusive investigation contact Dementia UKon 0845 257 940.


Sourced from ITV News, 23rd March 2012.