Author: Fiona Gilbert BSc (Hons), MA
A Guide to Fast Track Continuing Healthcare
Many families are often told that NHS continuing healthcare funding is only for those who are near the end of their life.
However, not only is this incorrect, but it often means that people with significant health needs are wrongly denied the free NHS care they are entitled to.
NHS continuing healthcare funding for care fees will depend on your own or a loved one’s health needs and not what stage of life they are at. These assessments are supposed to be carried out swiftly, no matter the individual’s health needs. We have put together this guide to help you understand the fast track process.
What is Fast Track Continuing Healthcare?
Fast Track Continuing Healthcare is a service which is crucial to making sure that people can get the care they need outside of hospital at the end of their lives or if their health is deteriorating rapidly. It is meant to ensure that the individual can have an urgent care package paid for and in place as soon as possible.
The NHS is very clear that once a doctor, nurse or other health professional submits a person for fast track care, the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) needs to have care in place for that person within 48 hours to get them out of the hospital. This timeframe reflects the importance of having appropriate care in place for people near the end of their life or whose health is deteriorating, and the reality that, for them, every moment counts when it comes to having the right care in place.
How to Apply
Under normal circumstances, to be approved for NHS continuing healthcare, you would need to meet an initial checklist of criteria, followed by a more detailed assessment by a multi-disciplinary team using a Decision Support Tool (DST), which is a method of assessing care needs.
However, if you need care urgently, a medical professional can instead use the Fast Track Pathway (FTP) Tool, removing the need for the DST assessment.
The very fact that your clinician has confirmed your health status using this method means that your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will automatically assume you are eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.
The medical professional submitting your FTP will need to be a registered medical practitioner or nurse. Additionally, they will need to have a personal knowledge of the condition of the individual applying and be responsible for the diagnosis, treatment and care. The FTP will highlight all the factors of care they need.
What If It Is Refused?
Life expectancy is not the basis for the application of the Fast Track Pathway, as you can still be fast-tracked if your own or a loved one’s condition is rapidly deteriorating, and you need a care package without delay, but you are not necessarily in the final weeks of life.
When it is a critical situation that you need to get care into place, you should not be put off with being refused the FTP as you can query this and press for it to be resubmitted. However, if it is still refused, you can object, if you don't think that the medical professional has enough knowledge of the individual’s condition or home situation.
When yourself or a family member becomes ill, it can be hard to start thinking about the process you should take. However, it is important to make sure that the right care is in place, and that it is funded correctly. You should speak to the medical professional about the Fast Track Pathway, and if they don't offer it then ask why.
If you or a loved one qualifies for care costs, these will be paid for by the NHS, and an appropriate care package can be put in place as soon as possible.
Here at Compass CHC, we have encountered some instances of Clinical Commissioning Groups refusing to undertake fast-track assessments when an individual clearly satisfies the criteria, and even when an assessment has taken place but has not been accepted. If you need any help regarding this matter, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Author: Fiona Gilbert BSc (Hons), MA
Do not delay, contact us today. We specialise in securing funding from day 1 and assisting families with the process from the outset. Don’t wait until a negative decision has been made and it is then necessary to have to appeal the outcome. This can take many months and all the while the patient will be having to pay the cost of their care.
Did you know?
If an individual is approaching the end of their life then a “fast track” Continuing healthcare funding assessment may be appropriate. This enables the individual to receive prompt NHS funding to meet the cost of care at the end of life stage.