NHS England has written to clinical commissioning groups with its plans to improve continuing healthcare assessments.
With a need to reduce delayed transfers of care in the NHS to release bed capacity, the letter says that by resolving the factors causing delays due to continuing healthcare assessment could help free up to a quarter of the total number of beds the NHS is required to release.
As such, it is calling on clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), in collaboration with local authorities, to ensure plans to improve continuing healthcare assessments are in place. As part of this, it says that:
- CCGs must ensure that less than 15% of all full NHS continuing healthcare assessments take place in an acute hospital setting.
- CCGs must ensure that in more than 80% of cases with a positive NHS continuing healthcare checklist, the NHS continuing healthcare eligibility decision is made by the CCG within 28 days from receipt of the Checklist (or other notification of potential eligibility).
It adds that:
- CCGs are expected to ensure that full assessments are only undertaken when required, for example, assessments are not required for people who are going on to NHS rehabilitation services or do not have long-term care needs;
- CCGs are expected to ensure if there is a need for the screening process for NHS continuing healthcare (i.e. the checklist undertaken to ascertain whether a full assessment for NHS continuing healthcare is required) that this does not cause any delays in the hospital discharge.
NHS England is asking CCGs to submit plans for improving the number of continuing healthcare assessments undertaken outside acute settings by 11th September 2017. CCGs must also undertake an audit to understand reasons behind any lengthy delays in eligibility decision-making processes by the same date.