Mar 192018
 
NHS facing court action over unlawful policies

Published: 19 Mar 2018

NHS organisations are facing legal action over discriminatory Continuing Healthcare policies, the Equality and Human Rights Commission warned today.

The Commission has taken its first steps in judicial review proceeding by issuing legal letters to 13 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).This follows an initial warning issued by the Commission, which highlighted concerns about NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) policies being unlawful and breaching the human rights of patients.

If the CCGs fail to provide evidence to demonstrate that their policies are lawful, or do not take steps to review them, they will be taken to court.

The Commission has raised significant concerns about blanket NHS CHC policies having arbitrary caps on funding and failing to consider the specific needs of individual patients, such as living location and family life.

This is a serious breach of the Human Rights Act, the Public Sector Equality Duty and the Department of Health and Social Care’s own NHS CHC framework.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

‘It is utterly unacceptable that anyone should be forced into residential care when they are healthy enough to live independently and with their families. And it doesn’t make sense for individuals or communities.

‘A “one-size fits all” approach will never properly address every single individual’s healthcare needs, and NHS CHC policies are no different. This is another example of individuals being disabled by society, and prevented from living as full and independent lives as possible, as is their right. We will use our powers to ensure that the NHS thinks about this again.’

The Commission first aired concerns over discriminatory NHS CHC policies in October 2017, when it wrote to 43 CCGs demanding more information on their approach.

Following this warning, almost a quarter of those contacted are now reviewing their policies and the Commission will be writing to the others whose policies are of less concern.

It will use its formal legal powers to initiate judicial review proceedings against 13, who it determines have not considered their human rights and equality responsibilities in the way they operate their policies.

NHS CHC provide funding for care outside of hospital, either in a care home, nursing home, hospice or a person’s own home, funded by the NHS to meet physical, mental health and associated social care needs.

The letters have been sent today (19 March 2018) and the CCGs have 14 working days to respond, after which decisions about starting court proceedings will be made.

Notes to editors

The Commission will be writing to the following 13 CCGs across England:

  • Brent
  • Coventry and Rugby
  • Dudley
  • East and North Hertfordshire
  • Eastern Cheshire
  • Harrow
  • Hillingdon
  • South Cheshire
  • Vale Royal
  • West Cheshire
  • Warwickshire North
  • Lincolnshire West
  • Redditch and Bromsgrove

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[suffusion-the-author display='description']
 Posted by at 18:38

  One Response to “EHRC Threatens Court Action Against 13 Clinical Commissioning Group re- CHC limits”

  1. I am afraid nothing has changed.
    I fought for my father care funding for many months before he died two weeks ago. It was a long ongoing battle, as they kept reviewing him and removing funding. Then they imposed a cap on funding his care at home. And that was only back November 2018.
    In the process I have learned a lot about the ordeal sick people are put through.
    Since the date of this article the Equality and Human Rights Commission has lifted theor threat of legal action as they were “reassured” that the health authorities implicated were changing their policies, as explained in this article: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-work/news/nhs-u-turns-discriminatory-policies
    Unfortunately, as said, as per November 2018 funding caps are still used, certainly they were to my father. And obviously I am not alone in continuing to be a victim of health authorities illegal practices, as seen in this article: https://www.zodiaccare.co.uk/2019/02/19/nhs-continuing-healthcare-teams-of-some-clinical-commissioning-groups-continue-to-force-people-out-of-their-homes-by-imposing-illegal-caps-on-funding-for-care-at-home-despite-last-years-warning-from/
    These health authorities do not stop in front of anything.
    Peter

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