Friday, April 11, 2008


Care cost changes 'not working'

Government attempts to end the postcode lottery in who gets
continuing NHS healthcare in England are having little impact,
a charity has claimed.

Age Concern said figures for the three months after new
guidelines came in showed the differences remain huge.

Tens of thousands of older people with serious
health problems were paying for care that should be free
, it added.

The government said the guidelines needed time to take
effect and that there would be a review in the autumn.

Continuing healthcare is given to people who have long-term
health needs but do not need to be in hospital - most live in
nursing homes.

However, a person's eligibility for NHS funding is determined
by the local primary care trust, and the way that funding is
allocated has long been criticised as unfair.

Age Concern said an analysis of Department of Health statistics
showed there were still "real disparities".

It warned tens of thousands of older people with chronic health
conditions were paying for care that should be free.

Gordon Lishman, director general of the charity, said:
"Frail older people should not be denied the care they
are entitled to because of where they happen to live.

"PCTs need to iron out these inconsistencies or face more claims
for compensation."