The Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) has responded to our report on NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) in Buckinghamshire.

In summer 2023, we collected feedback on ten individual cases where patients had been referred for a CHC assessment. We published a summary of our findings in November.

In our report, we explained that there was a great deal of confusion surrounding CHC.

We found there were misunderstandings about:

  • The referral process
  • Where care could be given
  • How to get help with applying for CHC.

We also found that most people who did not qualify for CHC had needs that related to a dementia diagnosis.

Six of the people we spoke to helped loved ones with the assessment process, even though they were dealing with long term conditions of their own.

Key recommendations

Bearing in mind that all feedback we received pre-dated BOB ICB’s involvement in making CHC assessments, our recommendations for BOB ICB included:

  • Ensure that all NHS providers have a CHC information guide and knowledge of the eligibility criteria.
  • Explain the initial CHC process more clearly. Help people understand that qualifying for an assessment does not necessarily mean they will receive funding.
  • Highlight that CHC is not means tested, and that eligibility does not depend on a person’s financial situation.
  • Join up CHC services across county boundaries.
  • Consider the risk that online assessments are not suitable for people who are digitally excluded, and are not the best method of communication for everyone.
  • Consider including individuals who have been involved with individuals’ care in the assessment process. This would help to reassure families that the process is fair.
  • Promote the use of advocacy services that might help people who are applying for CHC on behalf of loved ones.

BOB ICB’s response

In response to Healthwatch Bucks, BOB ICB said:

Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board welcomes the work undertaken by Healthwatch and the feedback provided. Our letter of response to Healthwatch sets out our proposed actions in response to their recommendations, which we hope will enable us to be more responsive to the needs of our population.

BOB ICB has also undertaken to address our recommendations by taking steps that are set out in its letter. You can download and read this below.

BOB ICB has also said it would welcome a repeat survey by Healthwatch Bucks at some point in the future. This would help BOB ICB to see whether the actions it plans to take make a difference.


BOB ICB’s response to our report on CHC

Published on 12 Dec, 2023 (updated 3 Jun, 2024)

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