The NHS funds long-term support and care if a patient’s condition is severe enough. However, the BBC has reported medical opinions have been ignored in the assessment of NHS payments to patients receiving care.
The percentage of patients rejected following assessment for continuing health care (CHC) differs greatly among clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England.
Norman Lamb MP said England-wide data obtained by the BBC showed a “regional disparity” and was “an injustice”.
However, the assessor organisation, Arden and Greater East Midlands CSU, says it follows national guidelines to decide on payments.
All assessors should use the same criteria, yet from July 2016 to July 2017, Birmingham South and Central CCG turned away 75 per cent of its new CHC assessments; Manchester CCG rejected 17 per cent of assessments, while Tameside and Glossop CCG rejected five per cent whom were assessed.
Three health workers told the BBC, an assessor organisation ignored medical views resulting in some patients being refused NHS care.
They claimed Arden and Greater East Midlands CSU (Commissioning Support Unit), ignored medical opinions in assessments so patients were unable to receive NHS care.
One worker told the BBC: “There has been bullying at the meetings – attempts to ridicule people who are there who have a professional opinion.
“They ignored what professionals have said and changed what professionals have said. The concern is that this puts patients at risk.”
Mr Lamb, North Norfolk MP, where almost three-quarters of cases assessed were refused, said the disparity and the allegations of medical opinions being ignored were “very disturbing”.
Alzheimer’s disease sufferer Diane Gallagher, 77, had her funding withdrawn three times, but every time her husband, John Gallagher, 78, who lives in Northampton, argued with the authorities and got it back.
Referring to the final time an NHS payment was rejected, Mr Gallagher said he was “totally gobsmacked”, stating his wife couldn’t walk, stand, talk or feed herself. In August Mrs Gallagher passed away, but her husband has been left to pay the bill for her final weeks of care. He insists the NHS should pay.