Committee of MPs back our campaign to improve NHS continuing healthcare
In a report released today, the Public Accounts Committee has recommended NHS England and the Department of Health make urgent improvements to the NHS continuing healthcare system (NHS CHC).
This is a fantastic milestone for our campaign and a real victory for many people with Parkinson's.
Parkinson's UK knows that NHS CHC is failing many vulnerable and unwell people in England. This is why we lead an alliance of charities and organisations calling for urgent change.
The report makes a series of hard-hitting recommendations to NHS England and the Department of Health. These include:
raising awareness so that patients and their families know about this service
tackling delays faced by those applying
overhauling the assessment tools and training for assessors
addressing the postcode lottery facing people across England by establishing a consistent process
requesting that the Committee have sight of a costed breakdown of the £855 million planned cuts to NHS CHC
Responding to the report, Matina Loizou, Senior Health Policy and Campaigns Adviser at Parkinson's UK and Chair of the NHS Continuing Healthcare Alliance, said:
"This report is a victory for so many vulnerable, unwell people in England who have been waiting too long – many to the point of breakdown or even death – for their right to adequate care.
"While this report shows their voices have been heard, we still have a long journey ahead of us: NHS England and the Department of Health must be held accountable for transforming this cruel, unfair system to make it fit for purpose.
"What we need is funding. We know the NHS is stretched, but with the ageing population on the rise, it should be investing in continuing healthcare.
"Instead, we're seeing cuts throughout England, meaning more people will be left out in the cold than ever before. The Public Accounts Committee report presents a glimmer of hope and we anxiously await the NHS's actions in response to the recommendations."
"My husband Bob was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Parkinson's.
"Within 6 years he went from being independent to needing a wheelchair, hallucinating, having short-term memory loss, being awake all night and having bowel collapses.
"I was caring for Bob alone until our Parkinson's nurse suggested we apply for NHS CHC. She helped me fill in the forms, but I didn't hear anything for 4 months.
"I was shoved from pillar to post. Bob had to move into a nursing home, and passed away aged 70. The day after his death the CHC assessor knocked on my door to conduct his assessment."
Parkinson's UK will continue to work with the Continuing Healthcare Alliance to push NHS England and the Department of Health to make these improvements to NHS continuing healthcare.
Get support to access continuing healthcare
If you'd like to find out more about NHS continuing healthcare and whether you are eligible for it, contact Beacon who can help you access the support you're entitled to.