Here’s a warning to financial advisors.

The NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding is a package of fully-funded care provided by the NHS and is FREE at the point of need.  It is payable regardless of wealth and is not means-tested. Therefore, if your relative has a ‘primary health need’ and meets the eligibility criteria for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, then all their healthcare needs, including accommodation, should be paid for in full by the NHS.

Consideration for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding should be given as the first point of call.  Too often, the first question that Care Home Managers will ask is, “How will you be paying for your relative’s care?” or “Will they be self-funding?”

Typically, care home fees average around £750 per week, increasing to £2,000 in some more affluent areas. When you gross up that cost  it can amount to many thousands of pounds paid in care home fees, annually.

When the Care Home Manager realises that you don’t have sufficient funds, it will inevitably lead to other questioning as to how you intend to pay for your relative’s care?  They will usually ask whether your relative has any savings or assets, such as a home that could be sold to pay for their care fees.

If there are insufficient savings or assets, the Manager may suggest you look towards Local Authority Funding, which is provided by Social Services, and is subject to means-testing.  So, if your relative has assets or savings in excess of £23,250, then they will be obliged to pay for all their care. This will either mean eroding your relative’s hard-earned lifetime savings, or selling an asset, such as their home to pay for their care.

Once the Care Home Manager realises there are insufficient funds to pay for the care home fees, they may suggest you look into NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding.

We know from our own media campaigns, the National Survey we commissioned, and the general lack of media attention, that this area of CHC funding is not widely known amongst the public. It has been described as the “NHS’s best kept secret”. However, as we know, your relative’s entitlement to NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding should be the first question that is considered, not the last!

Similarly, Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) also have a professional duty to advise their clients as to the availability of NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, before offering to sell a wide range of financial policies to cover the cost of care. Consideration as to whether it is appropriate to arrange for their client to undergo an NHS assessment for CHC Funding should be their first priority.

Unfortunately, in our experience, most financial advisors have never even heard of NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, and it’s not even on their ‘radar’ when exploring funding for their relative’s care fees.

However, their lack of knowledge is not actually surprising, as many medical professionals we speak to know very little about NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding either. Therefore, if your GP or Consultant doesn’t know or understand what CHC Funding is all about, how can they even possibly begin to recommend their patients be assessed for this funding?

Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon financial advisors and other companies providing financial advice, to explore the availability of this free funded care at the outset, as it could benefit their clients. It could save taking out unnecessary financial policies or making unwanted investments, and saving large IFA commission fees.

Warning! We understand that there are several cases of litigation in progress against financial advisors for failing to advise their clients properly as to the availability of NHS Healthcare Funding.

Financial advisors in this market need to be better educated as to how the NHS assessment process works, what the eligibility criteria are for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, and who is likely to get funding.

Farley Dwek Solicitors have built up expertise in this field over many years, and work in conjunction with our team of specialist independent nurses to help families, nationwide, through the complex NHS assessment process. Unfortunately, the whole assessment process is largely subjective, which leads to inconsistent results across the country.  It is often referred to as the ‘postcode lottery’.  Click on the map to find out which areas are more likely to obtain CHC Funding depending on where you live.

Equally, financial advisors should also be aware that their clients may be able to claim retrospectively for care fees that were wrongly charged and should be repaid by the NHS.  There is a whole separate process for making a retrospective claim.  However, this can take many years and involves detailed, line by line analysis of copious medical and care home records when preparing written submissions in support of the retrospective claim.

Clients at Farley Dwek have the advantage of knowing that we have specialist expertise in the field of NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding and can provide support and advocacy services in relation to both live assessments and retrospective claims. In the event that your relative does not qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, we can also offer independent financial advice to protect their position through Farley Dwek Financial Services.

In summary, assessments for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding should always be the considered before seeking financial independent advice or signing up to any policies to pay for care home fees. Do not be unwittingly drawn into the trap of discussing self-funded care without ensuring that your relative first undergoes a formal assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding.

If you require help at any stage of the assessment or appeals process contact us on 0161 272 5222 or 0800 011 4136 for a free telephone consultation, or email us at: