If you did not read the Daily Mail on Wednesday 17th July 2019, it featured 8½ pages dedicated solely to promoting their new Dementia campaign – which attacks the Government’s lack of social care funding available to help Dementia sufferers.

The Daily Mail’s campaign gave multiple heart rending accounts from relatives of Dementia sufferers, who had been forced to use their life savings, or even had to sell their homes, to pay for their Dementia care. The Daily Mail called it a national scandal!

We agree, and congratulate the Daily Mirror in bringing this scandal to the public’s attention. No doubt far more still needs to be done to raise awareness and fund care support for Dementia sufferers.

The front page headline article by Ben Spencer spanning two full pages, and lengthy articles from other contributors, including Miles Dilworth, Jane Fryer, plus commentary by Baroness Altmann – all concentrate purely on social care funding. 

However, at no point in this campaign is NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding (CHC) even mentioned!

CHC Funding is provided by the NHS, is FREE at the point of need, and is not means-tested. If eligible, ALL your assessed healthcare needs are paid for by the NHS. Social care, on the other hand, is provided by the Local Authority (Social Services) and is means-tested, and may therefore result in you paying towards some or all of your care needs.

Important: An assessment for CHC Funding should take place before any discussion about how you will fund your care, and before any assessment for social care.

Whilst we commend the Daily Mail in their excellent Dementia campaign and the need to secure more funding for Dementia sufferers across the country, the fact is that individuals should only be asked to pay for their social care needs after they have first had a CHC assessment and been rejected for NHS funding.

Not to even mention CHC funding is such a blatant omission, that we wonder whether the Daily Mail correspondents even know about its existence!

Given that the NHS don’t overtly publicise this available funding, it wouldn’t surprise us if the correspondents hadn’t heard of it either. Even for families whose relatives are going into a care home for the first time, or who are already in a care home, it can come as a surprise if they find out that funded care may be available through the NHS to cover all their relative’s healthcare needs, including food and accommodation.

Farley Dwek Solicitors offer various services to assist families through the CHC assessment and appeal’s process.  We also offer a Reclaims Service to recover care home fees that were wrongly paid, retrospectively.  It is surprising how many families only find out about CHC funding after their relative has passed away.

We feel disappointed that the Daily Mail missed a great opportunity to educate its readers about the availability of NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding.

Farley Dwek have campaigned for many years to bring NHS Continuing Healthcare into the public domain. Over the years, we have featured in many national papers, have been interviewed on radio, and more recently Andrew Farley appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire Show (11th June 2019).

Below is a copy of our email to the Editor of the Daily Mail imploring him and his colleagues to educate their readers as to the real national scandal – NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, which affects the lives of so many thousands of people in this country.

Dear Editor,

We applaud your Dementia campaign, seeking to raise awareness of the lack of social care funding for dementia sufferers.  However, there is an even bigger national scandal, which is not even mentioned once in your 8½ page feature on Dementia.  By focusing purely on social care needs, you have failed to educate your millions of readers about the availability of NHS Continuing Healthcare funding (CHC) – a fully-funded package of care provided by the NHS – FREE of charge – for individuals with a ‘primary healthcare need’, regardless of wealth.  CHC is not means-tested, whereas social care, provided by the Local Authority is means-tested.  It shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the wider picture, that in all 8½ pages, not once are your readers told about the possibility of this available free funding for their care needs. 

 Moreover, an assessment for CHC funding should take place before any discussion of how care will be funded, and before any Local Authority means-tested assessment.  CHC is about health needs; social care funding is about wealth

We expect that many thousands of dementia sufferers have gone down the route of selling their homes and using up all their life savings to pay for their care, when in fact they might not have needed to do so, if their Dementia and other health needs had been first assessed to see if they met the eligibility criteria for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding.  That is the starting point of any discussion and should take place before a penny is spent on care.  Failure to even mention CHC, or address this potential area of funding – often referred to as the ‘NHS’s best kept secret’ – and possibly the largest ever financial NHS scandal, is a wasted opportunity. A positive outcome at CHC assessment could save many other Dementia sufferers thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in care fees. 

Farley Dwek Solicitors specialise in NHS Continuing Healthcare funding and would be happy to talk to you about this little known area of available funding, and explain how the complex assessment process works, so that you can educate your readers and help them keep their homes.

Yours sincerely
Jonathan V Dwek
Solicitor / Director
Farley Dwek Solicitors Limited