Elderly patients are dying amid NHS wrangles over who pays for care, with thousands denied help which should have been given, a new report suggests.
The Public Accounts Committee said patients suffering devastating health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease were being forced into long battles for funding, with some waiting as long as three years and others dead by the time a decision was reached.
Under NHS rules, patients with significant ongoing healthcare needs – such as a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, or dementia – should have their care funded, whether it takes place in hospital or at home.
But the report found the vast majority of patients were not told about their entitlement until “very late in their journey through the health and social care system,”
In some cases, assessors only knocked on patients’ doors, the day after their death, MPs heard.
Just three per cent were told by GPs that the NHS should be paying for their care, and even once an assessment began, one third of patients waited at least a month for a decision.
MPs warned of “unacceptable variation” in access to funding, with 12 times as many cases funded in some areas compared with others.
While some clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) funded just 28 cases per 50,000 population, others paid for 356 cases for a population of the same size, the report shows.
The report raises concerns that increasing numbers of patients will be denied funding, amid CCG plans to make £855m efficiency savings.
Meg Hillier, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee said: “Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis have devastating effects on sufferers and their loved ones. Help with meeting the costs of ongoing care can make a critical difference to their quality of life. It is therefore distressing to see the system intended to support such people fall short on so many fronts.”
“NHS England’s demand that clinical commissioning groups make big efficiency savings will only add to the financial pressures on the front line,” she added, calling for assurances about how savings will be made without cutbacks in care.
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/17/elderly-dying-amid-nhs-wrangles-pays-care-pac-warns/