NHS care funding a ‘postcode lottery’, says watchdog

The health watchdog, no less, says “NHS care funding a ‘postcode lottery’, (BBC News 20th April) and this should not surprise readers of NHSreality. Health care, especially in Wales and the rural areas is a lottery, as well as social care. My own mother, now 93 is demented and in a nursing home near Norwich (because we managed to get her in before she was so lost she could not adapt), but if she was a new patient she would be in an Elderly Mentally Infirm home, of which there are not enough. A retired teacher, and taxpayer, she has had no help from the health budget, but she does get attendance allowance. The population explosion in elderly nonagenarians and centenarians is coming, and we have no way forward planned for the expense. It worries those of us who are retired, and vote, that none of the political parties has a solution. Merging health and social care budgets simply compounds and obfuscates the problems.

Care patients are being hit with large bills because of a postcode lottery for NHS funding, a consumer group says.

Which? said people can be “25 times more likely to get their costs covered depending on where they live”.

It found South Reading Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) paid social care costs for 8.78 patients per 50,000 people while Salford funded 220.38.

The Berkshire CCG said Reading has a very low elderly population – 12% against the national average of 17.7%.

The consumer group analysed NHS funding data for October to December 2017.

It found vulnerable people in England with the most expensive medical needs were not treated in the same way regardless of where they live.

The NHS continuing healthcare scheme is administered by local CCGs. It gives medics a national framework to assess patients, including older people with conditions such as dementia and motor neurone disease.

Top five funding CCGs [per 50k of population]

  • Salford – 220.38
  • Thurrock – 146.49
  • Wolverhampton – 141.19
  • Sutton – 131.96
  • Sunderland – 120.29

Bottom five funding CCGs [per 50k of population]

  • Luton – 20.49
  • Newbury & District – 19.33
  • Wokingham – 18.78
  • North and West Reading – 18.45
  • South Reading – 8.78

Which? also found there were inconsistencies with people living in the same region.

People in the Wolverhampton CCG are more than five times more likely to have their care funded (141.2 patients per 50,000) than their neighbours in Sandwell and West Birmingham (26.3 per 50,000).

Which? also found that nearly all areas are failing to meet the national framework guidance that in most cases people should not wait more than 28 days for a decision about whether they are eligible for funding.

It says it also found examples of families having the funding withdrawn suddenly. One woman was saddled with a £96,000-a-year bill after the needs of her mother – who has severe dementia – were reviewed.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We expect NHS England to ensure those with the highest and most complex health and care needs, who are eligible for this type of funding, have easy access wherever they live in the country so people can get the care they need – and deserve.”

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Post Code Lottery, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s