Norfolk MP demands answers over ‘intolerable’ cuts to care plans

Norman Lamb in Parliament. Picture: Norman Lamb's office

Norman Lamb in Parliament. Picture: Norman Lamb's office - Credit: Archant

Nearly three quarters of people in north Norfolk are not getting the continuing NHS healthcare care they need when they go home, it was claimed today.

Continuing healthcare is funding provided by the NHS to meet the cost of an individual's care in full, regardless of what assets they may have.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb used a parliamentary debate on Monday to ask what the government was doing to improve NHS continuing care prospects across the country.

It came after a 73pc rejection rate for North Norfolk care assessments was exposed. It means that people with a terminal illness are stuck in hospital, unable to die in the place of their choice.

Information acquired by the BBC's Inside Out East programme shows that between July 2016 and July 2017 73pc of those assessed for NHS continuing care were rejected by the North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (NN CCG), compared with 17pc for Manchester and 5pc for Tameside and Glossop.

Mr Lamb said: 'These are not odd examples - there are enormous variations across the country.

'Demand is rising significantly every year across the country, yet the number of people entitled is going down.'

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NHS England is expecting efficiency savings from the continuing healthcare system amounting to £5.2 billion by 2020-21, up from £3.1 billion in 2015-16. CCGs are being asked to save £855 million by 2020-21.

Mr Lamb argued that as 'only £149 million' is spent on admin, which is where efficiency savings are made, savings can only be achieved by cutting care plans, which he called 'intolerable'.

Mr Lamb also noted that there are a growing number of cases in which the costs of care packages have been capped, with top-ups required from relatives.

CCGs are applying a cap to what they will pay for home support packages above the cheapest care home alternative.

According to the BBC, statistics show that 19 CCGs refused to pay for home care packages if the costs were 10pc higher than the costs of a care home. Matina Loizou, chairman of the NHS Continuing Healthcare Alliance, said the continuing healthcare system was failing the most severely disabled, sick and vulnerable people in society.'