Cover of Continuing NHS Healthcare easy read guideLast year Welsh Government published a new guide to Continuing NHS Healthcare (CHC) in Wales. This guide is for adults with complex needs who may be eligible for Continuing NHS Healthcare and their families or carers.

Welsh Government worked in consultation with stakeholders and Easy Read Wales to develop both the plain English and easy read guides. This work was unfortunately delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but we are really pleased to see the guides have now been published and are available for people to use.

Why are these guides needed?

The aim of the guides is to empower people with the information they need to advocate for themselves, or the people they care for, to make sure they get the care and support they are entitled to.

It can be difficult to understand the CHC process, your rights and how to claim CHC support. Some people may need support from the NHS to meet their health care needs and they may also need support from their local authority to meet their social care needs. If you are eligible for CHC, your Local Health Board becomes responsible for paying for your whole care package. This means the NHS will pay for both your health and social care.

Agreeing the balance between local authority and health service responsibilities with respect to long-term care has often been challenging. This has sometimes led to delays in people’s care and left families in limbo.

People in receipt of Direct Payments have also faced extra challenges when it comes to CHC, as Local Health Boards are unable to provide CHC care packages using Direct Payments. This is not always fully explained to people and their families, leading to potential confusion and frustration.

These challenges can make the CHC process even more difficult for people to navigate and understand, and that is why these new guides are so important.

What do the guides cover?

The guides will support people to understand:

  • What Continuing NHS Healthcare is
  • Who is eligible for CHC
  • How it is assessed
  • How it is organised.

There is information in the guides about what happens when CHC is delivered in your own home, in a care home or in a care home with nursing, and how it might affect your benefits and Direct Payments. There is also information in the guides about:

  • How to get a CHC assessment
  • How assessments should be done
  • How eligibility is decided
  • Your right to advocacy
  • How to complain or challenge decisions
  • How your local authority and Local Health Board should support you through the process.

There is 1 Plain English guide to CHC and the following 5 Easy Read booklets:

  1. What is Continuing NHS Healthcare?
  2. An easy read guide to CHC assessments
  3. An easy read guide to CHC eligibility
  4. How is CHC organised?
  5. What happens if I’m not eligible for CHC?

The Continuing NHS Healthcare system is meant to be designed so that the person is put at the centre of the process. People should be fully involved in decision-making, their needs must be understood and there should be clear communication throughout.

You can find all the plain English and easy read guides to Continuing NHS Healthcare on the Welsh Government website.