Fareham MP Suella Braverman has launched a new campaign to push for improvements to the way carers can access NHS Continuing Health Care (CHC) provision.
The initiative comes after many Hampshire residents reported difficulties and delays in funding applications and appeals processes with the West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for overseeing adult social care in the county. A means test is applied to determine if someone requiring social care support is eligible for funding, and in many cases, those fully entitled to care funding have to undertake a difficult and drawn-out application process with many applications being unsuccessful.
In one instance, Fareham resident John White had to wait almost six years and navigate a series of hurdles before funding was released to care for a relative suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Several factors including a non-patient friendly application process and lengthy delays meant that no funding was granted while Mr White’s relative was still alive. Funding was finally granted retrospectively following appeals.
Speaking about his experience, John White said:
“The system of Continuing Health Care funding fails seriously ill patients and their carers at the most stressful and heart breaking times of their lives. The process and rules are structured to ensure that only limited numbers are successful. From my experience, it’s very difficult to get funding after the first application and many do not have the energy to continue. Many families don’t take the appeal forward – the system beats them into submission.”
After hearing John’s story and many others like it, Mrs Braverman has written to health and social care ministers urging them to take more action to provide for those in need of adult care and ensure their families are not let down by shortcomings to the funding system.
Suella Braverman MP said:
“John’s case is sadly not an isolated one. I have many constituents who approach me having experienced difficulties in accessing Continuing Healthcare Provision when they are eligible to have it. The lengthy application process and the apparent lack of coordination in delivering care to those who need it most simply compounds the grief that many families already have to endure when they see their relative’s health deteriorating.
“That is why I have written to ministers about the fact that more needs to be done to provide for Alzheimer’s patients and to seek assurances that the views of service users and their families are being addressed so that appropriate action can be taken.”