A South Tyneside businesswoman is aiming to tackle the postcode lottery around care fees with her new law firm.
Legal expert and qualified solicitor Rosalind Hughes has created Just Caring Legal.
She is now gearing up to challenge the system leaving sick and elderly people in some parts of the North East without financial support when it comes to care fees by the NHS.
Rosalind, from East Boldon, said: “I find it very hard to accept that such huge gaps in funding between areas can be explained purely by differing levels of need.”
“It concerns me that despite a rapidly ageing population, some North East CCGs have slashed the numbers of people receiving CHC over the past year.
“In South Tyneside, for example, the number of people receiving CHC has been cut by more than 70% in a single year.
“In Newcastle & Gateshead, numbers have been slashed by around a third and in Sunderland by 20%.
“Many people I speak to haven’t received the free care they are entitled to because they and their families don’t realise they are eligible – and none of the health and social care professionals they have come into contact with appear to have informed them otherwise.”
NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is a package of care that is arranged and funded solely by local NHS bodies, known as CCGs, for individuals who are not in hospital but have been assessed as having a “primary health need” such as severe dementia, cancer, the effects of stroke or Parkinson’s Disease.
Unlike council care funding, if someone is eligible for CHC, the NHS must cover the entire cost of the care, whether in a residential or nursing home or in their own home, regardless of the individual’s savings and assets.
Latest NHS figures reveal some CCGs, such as Sunderland, are awarding three times as many free care packages as others, such as Hartlepool & Stockton-on-Tees and South Tyneside – despite there being a National Framework and guidance.
Mrs Hughes added: “People often make the mistake of thinking that if they have assets such as owning their own home, they will not be eligible. But this is irrelevant – CHC is NOT financially means tested.”
Just Caring Legal is based at St Peter’s Gate, Sunderland.
For details, visit www.justcaringlegal.co.uk or call 0191 556 1078 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.