The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has today (4 November) published a report looking at 60 complaints cases relating to Continuing Healthcare that have been resolved since 2018. In looking at these cases, the PHSO has found significant failings in care and support planning.
The Ombudsman recommends that NHS England and the Department for Health and Social Care should issue national guidance to clarify what CCGs’ obligations are around NHS CHC.
PHSO has made recommendations to improve the CHC system, which include providing comprehensive training for frontline staff and better communication with patients and their families.
Responding to the report Lou Patten, chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said:
“I welcome today’s PHSO insight report into a number of closed complaints about NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) and the opportunity it provides for the whole system to learn and improve how patients and their families experience this type of care. We have said already publicly that NHS Continuing Healthcare is a complex system that needs reform in order to really deliver what patients need.
“Whilst the PHSO report highlights some difficult cases where individuals and their families have been unacceptably let down, we need to remember that the report looked at 60 cases over a time period when an average of 64,000 CHC assessments were undertaken each year, from which individuals were supported with this service and did receive the right high-quality care.
“CCGs have and continue to work hard to ensure people’s needs are met, despite the ongoing challenges around the nursing workforce, many of whom were redeployed into front line services during the first COVID-19 peak. However, there are clear learnings highlighted in this report.
“The report makes a number of important recommendations for NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care as well as CCGs who then deliver the system. Above all, we agree that it is vital that individuals and their families are aware of their rights and what they can expect from the process, including how to challenge a decision they may disagree with. No-one should be left experiencing financial or emotional hardship as a result of going through this system.
“As the member body for clinical commissioning groups, NHSCC will work with NHS England and the Department for Health and Social Care to help with the necessary changes, and continue to support our members to ensure they are providing (or buying in) the right service to provide continuing health care as effectively as possible, given the current very challenging circumstances presented by COVID and the significant gap in nursing workforce.”
4 November 2020