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NHS continuing healthcare and adult social care blog | October 2021

Kirstie Lennox, Solicitor in our Court of Protection team takes a look at the latest news surrounding adult social care and NHS continuing healthcare.
  1. The National Care Forum has criticised the government for the £388m funding boost announced on 30 September. The fund intends to tackle coronavirus infections in care homes and provides for infection control measures, testing and paying staff who require to self-isolate a full wage.  However, the National Care Forum has described the funding boost as ‘too little, too late’, given that the existing funding came to an end on 30th September – the same day that the funding boost was announced – giving care providers no time to plan or budget. The funding also falls short of what was provided in April and July of this year, which has left providers baffled given that the winter pressures on care homes will be far greater than the summer.  For further information, please click here.
  2. 73 year old David Peace from London, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease in 2019, plans to travel to Switzerland by the end of this year to attend a Dignitas clinic to end his life. In a statement to the press, Mr Peace spoke of the disease and “the relentless attacks” on his body,  “with no hope of relief or cure, and no legal or dignified remedy in Britain other than continual suffering with more and more pills, opiates and sedation, tubes into the throat and other intervention.” Mr Peace also spoke about bringing the end of his life forward, due to the current laws in England and Wales which prevent assisted suicide and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. This means that Mr Peace must make the journey to the Switzerland clinic whilst he is still well enough to travel. A private members bill is currently going through parliament, which, if passed, would enable adults with capacity and have 6 months or less to live to be given life ending medication with the approval of two doctors and a High Court Judge. Baroness Meacher, who introduced the bill, said she is feeling "very optimistic" about its second reading, which will "transform people's lives" if passed. Please click here for the full article.
  3. Two women have taken legal action against the government, pubic health England and NHS England over their handing of the pandemic in care homes,  after both of their fathers died of Covid-19 in care homes. Michael Gibson, 88 died in a care home in Oxfordshire on 3 April 2020. Don Harris died at a care home in Hampshire on 1 May 2020, days before his 90th Birthday. The case brought against the Government and NHS argues that they failed to protect care home residents from the transmission of Covid by a series of policies which introduced Covid-19 into care homes. The most devastating of these policies was the mass discharge of 25,000 elderly and/or disabled patients from NHS hospitals into care homes without Covid-19 testing or ensuring suitable isolation measures were in place. According to ONS, between March and June 2020, more than 20,000 elderly and/ or disabled care home residents in England and Wales died from Covid-19. Click here to read the full article.
  4. Birmingham City Council has found itself in hot water after it cut the care hours of a man with Down’s Syndrome from 91 hours to 78 hours, without showing how it would be able to meet his eligible needs. The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman made recommendations, which the council agreed to, including to review the man’s  care and backdate direct payments accordingly to the start of the revised package, in October 2020;  pay the care agency the debt accrued by the family between April 2019 and March 2020; and  apologise to the man’s family and pay them £250 in acknowledgement of the distress and frustrations caused by the delays and faults in the case. Click here for further details of the article.
  5. On 27th October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Autumn budget and spending review, indicating that the months ahead will be challenging  for care providers. Whilst a grant to local authorities of £4.8bn over the next 3 years was promised, as well as £6bn for the NHS, there was little mention of adult social care. Stephen Chandler, the president of ADASS  (Association of Directors of Adults Social Services) urged the Chancellor to “act decisively" to stabilise care this winter in his Budget and Spending Review, by giving an extra £3bn immediately to strengthen home care, meet unmet needs and ease the care workforce crisis. However, the lack of funding laid out in the budget left social care leaders disappointed, yet unsurprised, and apprehensive for the winter ahead without a robust social care budget plan to support the NHS. Click here to read more.

If you need help and advice in regards to any of the topics covered above, please contact our Health & Community Care Team on 01926 354704 for a free initial telephone consultation or email: 

Kirstie Lennox | Solicitor

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