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Masthead Healthcare - Litigation

CCGs review NHS Continuing Healthcare policies after legal threat from watchdog

Thirteen NHS clinical commissioning groups have agreed to review their NHS Continuing Healthcare policies following the threat of legal action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

In March 2018, the watchdog threatened the CCGs with judicial review over concerns about their blanket NHS CHC policies, which the EHRC said placed arbitrary caps on funding and failed to consider the specific needs of individual patients.

The Commission claimed that this amounted to 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.

The EHRC said the CCGs had since demonstrated that they were in the process of revising their policies, meaning further legal action was “not necessary at this time”. 

The Commission has asked to see the CCGs’ revised policies “to ensure they are lawful and adequately consider equality and human rights implications for their patients”.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “Everyone has the right to live their lives to an adequate standard and to have access to good quality health care.

“Those who need help are individual human beings with individual circumstances which need to be taken into account.

“We said that it is unacceptable and de-humanising for CCGs to adopt a blanket approach in forcing people into residential care, especially when with the right support they would be able to live at home with the families who love them.

“We are really pleased with the result and we know that all those affected will be reassured to see CCGs putting the rights of patients at the heart of their decision-making processes. We will continue to work with CCGs to ensure that future policies do not make the same mistakes.”

The EHRC said that Haringey CCG was the only organisation that had failed to share its policies. It was not one of the 13 that originally faced judicial review, but the lack of engagement “now leaves Haringey open to further action”, it added.

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