People with complex healthcare needs are being “blackmailed” by their local NHS bodies into accepting unsafe levels of care in their own homes, a committee of MPs has been told.
The public accounts committee was hearing evidence on the funding of NHS continuing healthcare in England.
Earlier this year, research by disabled campaigner Fleur Perry showed that more than 40 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) appeared to be willing to move disabled people with high-cost support packages into residential or nursing homes against their wishes, even if the cost of a homecare package was only slightly more expensive than residential care.
The CCG policies apply to people who have complex health needs and have been assessed as eligible for care arranged and funded solely by the NHS, known as NHS continuing healthcare (NHS CHC).
Brian O’Shea, continuing healthcare adviser for Spinal Injuries Association, told MPs yesterday (Wednesday) that increasing numbers of CCGS were imposing “arbitrary financial caps” on those eligible for NHS CHC.
He said: “What we believe is happening is CCGs aren’t actually serious about incarcerating people in nursing homes because we don’t believe that there are enough nursing home beds available.
“What they are doing is they are using that as a tool to blackmail people into accepting unsafe levels of care and unsafe levels of funding to live in their own home or their preferred setting of care and rely on informal support to pick up the rest of the care.”
He said that one 53-year-old man with four young children – who has been running his business from his hospital bed – had spent six months in hospital recovering from a spinal cord injury and “has been told that he’s expected to move into a nursing home and not be allowed to go home and live with his family”.