From April 2015, Scottish care in the community will lose full NHS funding. Patients with complicated long-term healthcare problems will no longer have access to full NHS funding if they are cared for in the community as opposed to in hospital.
Currently, the ?NHS Continuing Healthcare? scheme operates so that patients with chronic conditions being treated in a care home setting or in their own home are entitled to have their care funded by the NHS.
This operates in addition to free personal care which will remain in place and is available to everyone over the aged of 65 assessed as in need of this. From next year, continuing care funding will only be available to chronically ill patients where they are being treated in hospitals or nursing homes run by the NHS. All other patients will be liable to contribute to their care costs, subject to their financial position.
The decision follows a Scottish Government review undertaken after the BBC revealed that the number of people having their care costs paid was falling in Scotland, while it was rising in England. The review concluded that those with acute long term care needs are best looked after in NHS settings, and that those not in need of hospitalisation should be required to contribute financially to their care.
Patients currently receiving this funding will not be affected by the change and will continue to receive funding, however those who first require such care after this date may find themselves struggling to meet costs.
Indeed, concerns have been raised that this could mean patients are admitted to or remain in hospital unnecessarily for fear of costs, as opposed to returning to the community with appropriate care.
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